The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation will create awareness about the ill effects of smoking and punish those who violate the law, KSRTC Director B N S Reddy has said.
Speaking at a programme organised by Institute of Public Health (IPH) to mark World Health Day on Monday, he said, “In the last one year, we have booked 16,288 people for smoking in bus stands and bus depots and collected Rs 32.57 lakh in fines.”
He said he would send out a circular to all depots to curb smoking. Also, people can post photographs and complaints against those who violate the law, he said.
Reddy said public transport should be made comfortable and safe for citizens. A smoker in a public place is fined Rs 200.
Dr Vishal Rao, senior consultant, surgical oncology, BGS Global Hospital, Bangalore, lauded the efforts of KSRTC and said, “Bus stops, bus stands and bus depots are places where the law against smoking and tobacco is in place. People get exposed to second hand and third hand smoking and get diseases like cancer.”
He said the KSRTC had booked people using CCTV cameras. About 44 per cent of commuters are affected by passive smoking in Karnataka, he observed.
Dr Riyal Basha, associate professor and member, Karnataka Anti-tobacco Cell, said 5,000 children are admitted to hospitals across India due to passive smoking every year.
Sudden death syndrome, due to nicotine toxicity, is also on the rise, Dr Basha observed.
Sixty-seven-year-old Nalini Sathyanarayana, who has lost her voice box, is a victim of passive smoking.
She told the gathering: “My husband was a smoker. I suffered from throat cancer and lost my voice box four years ago. I did not know why and how I got this. After consultation with doctors, I was told it was due to passive smoking.”
Nalini now counsels families and children about the effects of passive smoking.