‘Stop Tobacco’ app grabs public fancy in Bengaluru
The GPS-based mobile app ‘Stop Tobacco’ launched in Karnataka on February 28, has seen 50 complaints made on the portal of people smoking in public.
BENGALURU: The GPS-based mobile app ‘Stop Tobacco’ launched in Karnataka on February 28, has seen 50 complaints made on the portal of people smoking in public. Citizens often end up becoming victims of passive smoking in public areas. State Tobacco Control Cell (STCC), a wing of the department of health and family welfare, launched the app to reduce such instances.
Prabhakar, in charge of the State Tobacco Control Programme, told TNIE that since the launch, they have recorded over 200 app downloads. Action has been taken over five or six complaints, which were generally against shop owners for not displaying ‘No Smoking’ signs, and allowing people to smoke. Fines were also levied on people found smoking near such shops. The maximum number of complaints were seen in Bengaluru’s Gandhinagar, HSR Layout and Banaswadi so far. Cases have also been reported from Belagavi and Dakshina Kannada.
Since the app is GPS-enabled, the location of the violation automatically gets fed and goes to the respective District Tobacco Control Cell. They reach the location and take action on the complaint, and close it in six working days.
Public smoking is a public nuisance, hence this initiative is helping report such cases, as often people can’t directly approach smokers and ask them to stop. They can just upload pictures on the app and necessary action is taken by the government, said Dr Kiran Kumar, an official with the STCC.
With the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognising Bengaluru for its best tobacco control policy, the department said several other initiatives are also being taken to reduce the production and consumption of tobacco products in Karnataka.
Prabhakar said that 50 tobacco-growing families in the Tumakuru district have been successfully made to switch to growing other crops. Besides, the government is suggesting that real estate companies allocate tobacco-free apartments for people to ensure they don’t end up as passive smokers in their residential areas also.