‘Stop Tobacco’ app launched in Karnataka to curb smoking in public
Location of violation will automatically get fed and sent to district tobacco control cell
BENGALURU: Citizens who are victims of passive smoking in public places need not be mute spectators anymore to the violation of their right to health. They can now click a picture of people smoking in the public and then upload the same on the ‘Stop Tobacco’ app and a squad will take action against the violator. The app was unveiled by the State Tobacco Control Cell (STCC), a wing of the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services, here on Tuesday.
Citizens have to download the app (available only for Android users), from Google Play store, click picture of the public place where they find the violation and upload it on the app. The app is GPS-enabled and the location of the violation will automatically get fed and it will go to the respective district tobacco control cell. They are bound to reach the location and take action on the complaint and close it in six working days.
Citizens can also lodge complaints about the sale of tobacco to minors, advertisement of tobacco products, sale of tobacco within 100 yards of educational institutions, and loose sale of cigarettes without the mandatory health warning.
State Health Commissioner Randeep said youth experiment with tobacco as they are easily available.Asked how the squad will identify individual violators smoking in the public, Randeep said, “Unlike traffic violations, where the violator is tracked using a number plate, we cannot do the same here. For now, our focus is to slap fines on the shopkeepers, tea shops, coffee shops, bakeries and others where there is a major violation. We expect the shopkeeper to warn the violators and not let the people smoke in public.”
He added that if they are getting repeated complaints from the same shop, they have all the legal provisions to shut it. Through the efforts of the STCC, more than 20 villages in Karnataka have become tobacco-free, where there are no sales or consumption of tobacco. The health department also launched a social media campaign- ‘Step Towards Tobacco-Free Generation’ where they aim to prevent the sale of tobacco to all those who are born in and after the year 2007.