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Saturday, Aug 10, 2002

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Smoking in public places banned

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THE Karnataka Assembly passed the Karnataka Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Health of Non-smokers Bill 2001, on Thursday. The Bill bans smoking in public places notified by the State Government.

The ban will come into effect after a notification is issued by the State Government after the formulation of rules. The Health Minister, Mr Kagodu Thimmappa, said that the Bill would protect non-smokers from the hazards of passive smoking. The legislation also states that it would become illegal to sell cigarettes and beedis to those below 18 years.

The ban includes public places such as offices, hospitals, health institutions, courts, libraries, places of worship, colleges, schools and other places notified by the Government.

The Minister said that the Government's intention was to protect the health of people, not to destroy the livelihood of anybody. Thus suitable protection would be provided to beedi workers.

The Bill seeks ban on advertisements in public places and vehicles; establishment owners should display the ban prominently; fines of Rs 100 for first time offenders, Rs 200-500 for second time offenders and possible imprisonment. Certain offences would be made cognizable and bailable; authorised officers to be appointed for enforcement; any person violating the ban can be physically removed from the premises and courts to try the cases and violations by companies would be liable for prosecution.

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