BENGALURU: The Karnataka State Anti-Tobacco Cell, Department of Health and Family Welfare, is implementing a National Tobacco Control Programme in all 30 districts in the state, including Bengaluru Urban, to create awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco consumption.
As part of the same, they have requested the election commission to ban the sale of tobacco within 100 yards of each polling booth. Offenders or shop owners who don’t comply will be fined.
The cell’s goal is to make all polling booths tobacco-free during the upcoming elections. “We want people to understand the drawbacks of smoking tobacco. Since polling booths are set up in public spaces, we want to restrict passive smoking situations. Offenders will be levied a fine of Rs 200, whereas shop owners will be charged Rs 200 per offender caught near the shop,” explained Dr Selvaraj, state nodal officer, anti-tobacco cell. The team will conduct surprise checks at polling booths to ensure strict enforcement of the initiative.
Dr Selvaraj added that he wants to curb any situation where people can bribe voters by offering cigarettes to them. Chief election commissioner Sanjeev Kumar affirmed that the rules will be strictly followed and all polling booths will be tobacco-free during the election.
As part of their attempt, the anti-tobacco cell also launched an application – STOP TOBACCO – in January. The app allows people to report violations and officers are hopeful that this will help them nab vendors and offenders.