India imposed a new ban on smoking in public places four years after a largely ignored earlier prohibition saw people continue to puff away in restaurants, clubs and bars.
One in three Indians smokes some form of tobacco, officials say, and a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February this year said one in every 10 deaths in India from 2010 would be smoking-related.
The government has made smoking a top issue, with Bollywood stars urged by the health minister to stub out their cigarettes, on-screen smoking forbidden and health workers telephoning residents in the capital offering help to quit.
The new ban increased the areas included in the prohibition, roping in educational institutions, bars and discos, hospitals, offices and libraries. It also directs establishments to appoint anti-smoking officers who will be liable if people smoke.
That cleared the way for the new ban to take effect on October 2nd, the birthday of ascetic peace icon Mahatma Gandhi, who did not smoke, drink alcohol or eat meat.
I quit smoking 48 years ago. It wasn’t easy. I was smoking two-and-a-half packs of cigarettes a day at the time.
But, I quit in the middle of a pack, in the middle of a carton. Smartest thing I ever did back in the day.