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The public smoking ban should not go up in smoke

October 1, 2008
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My first bad experience of exposure to second hand smoke was after I started working. We used to spend hours holed up in small conference rooms and even if two out of 8 people smoked, the air-conditioned room would be full of smoke. No one would say anything out of politeness. I think I must have gone through several years of this.

My second experience was when I was on a flight from Delhi to Mumbai with my two month old baby. We could not manage a seat in the non-smoking section (those days smoking was allowed on flights). As luck would have it I sat next to a chain smoker. He kept puffing and blowing smoke right into my baby’s face and after about half an hour of this, I requested him (I was traveling alone) to please not smoke. His answer? “You should have got a seat in the non-smoking section.” The man continued to smoke for the rest of the journey, even as my little one started coughing. I was very upset for several days after this experience.

It was always people like us (who objected to smokers) who were wrong. Smokers’ rights had to be protected, not ours. A friend will oblige if you request him/her not to smoke, but with strangers one cannot say. In any case one would even hesitate to ask.

Smoking banned in public from tomorrow
It’s all going to change from tomorrow. Non-smokers will not be on the defensive anymore. Here are some details of the ban:

  • Penalty charges for smoking at in public places – Rs 200 (to be increased to Rs 1000)
  • Higher penalties for hotels and industries
  • Smoking prohibited in all indoor establishments
  • Companies can no longer have designated smoking rooms
  • Restaurants with a seating capacity or more to be allowed to keep enclosed spaces for smoking

So where should people smoke? In their own houses I guess or on the streets or in some designated closed space in a hotel. I don’t feel sorry for them. I don’t see why I should inhale passive smoke when it’s known to be bad for health. I have my rights.

Will it affect the business of restaurants and hotels?
Comprehensive studies abroad have shown that it doesn’t affect business as more non-smokers start going to hotels (although other, smaller studies contradict these findings), but this may not happen in India. Even though a small survey of 1,030 people showed that 92 percent of people in the four metros of Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata support such a ban, we do not know how the business of hoteliers will be affected.

However there is no doubt that some establishments will be affected more than others. For example shack owners in Goa are worried because they feel that the foreign tourists that frequent the shacks come to smoke and drink.This could be true, because when we were on holiday in these places it was not easy to find a smoke-free environment. In one instance in Puducherry, a man just a foot away at the next table was puffing vigourously, cigarette after cigarette, and guess what? He was turning his face away from his friends at the table and blowing the smoke in our direction!

Some people equate the ban to fascism and fanaticism
What I don’t understand is why people are reacting with so much anger to this ban. For example, an article in the DNA has called this ban the work of fanatics! The ban on smoking in public spaces has been compared to bans against sex workers, dance bars, Valentine’s Day celebrations, boys and girls sitting together in public parks! What an odd comparison. I am totally against banning the above but I am all for banning smoking in public places as it physically harms others. I am against moral policing but I am all for the rules that will protect my health. This ban has also been called “dictatorial” and “fascist” and “a holy war against supposedly decadent lifestyles” in the same article.

Another article (also in the DNA) by Pravin Nair says:

I just don’t believe it will work. Bans have never worked. Not on Simi. Not on the Bajrang Dal. Not on smoking..You only drive the problem underground and make it that much more difficult to deal with..

I am worried if SIMI goes underground, but not smoking. If smoking goes underground, it is not my business. I just don’t want to get affected by it. In any case, such comparisons are really odd. I mean, does it mean that SIMI and BD should not be banned?

There is also another article, again in the DNA, which says that the ban on smoking in Chandigarh hasn’t worked, and so this one won’t either, implying that that is a reason to not to have a ban at all. I do not agree with this logic, but Odzer (he lives in Chandigarh) tells me that the ban has been a modest success but he does say that it hasn’t really worked as it should.

Well, I am not sure whether it will work, but I sure want to be on the right side of the law when I request someone to refrain from smoking.

The rest of the world
Similar bans exist in other parts of the world and I doubt that these countries can be called fascist. All of these bans on smoking in public are from 2004 onwards. Good to know that India is not too not far behind in this at least! Here are the countries which do not allow smoking in public.

  • Ireland
  • Norway
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Denmark and Sweden (exemptions for small bars and restaurants with separate smoking rooms)
  • Spain (bans smoking in workplaces, restrictions for public places, such as airports and train stations, but Pubs, restaurants and other public places smaller than 100 m² are exempted)
  • The Netherlands and Romania (banned smoking in bars and clubs this year)
  • South Africa (smoking restricted in all public areas)
  • Bhutan – all sale and smoking of tobacco banned
  • Some states in the United States of America (different for different states)

Is there any chance of this ban being overturned?
Anything is possible. The ban almost didn’t go through as tobacco giant ITC as well as the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI, the apex body of all hotel associations) have filed cases against it. Well, at least for now the Supreme Court is not listening. It shouldn’t. Commercial interest should never come before an individual’s interest.

I hope that the various tobacco and hotel lobbies do not pressurize the government to take back the ban.  Everyone of us has the right to breathe in a smoke-free environment and not get affected by the bad habits of others. And smokers and smoker’s lobbies and those whose business will be affected by the ban on smoking have no right to force us to inhale their poison! This isn’t about moral policing. It’s about the rights of non-smokers.

And if you look at it from the point of view of the Health Minister, well, it is a fact that one fifth of all Indians smoke 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. And the country loses Rs.36,000 crore (Rs.360 billion) due to health problems caused by tobacco related ailments (although this includes chewing tobacco).

Related Reading: Smoking rising in Asian countries
Tobacco Kills
Social drinking catching on in India, although slowly
The Lancet says that Pot can cause mental illness
How much can you drink and be on the right side of the law?

84 Comments leave one →
  1. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 1, 2008 8:33 am

    @ Nita:

    Thanks for a very comprehensive post. One point, though, on which I am not very clear, is who will be the enforcing authority. I recall reading in some newspaper that absolutely anyone can, as an affected party, be plaintiff, police, jury and judge all rolled into one. If this is true, then it is worrying. Even the best intended laws cannot be enforced in a manner that will convert civil society into a police state.

  2. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 1, 2008 8:38 am

    Nita,

    In your survey of the position in the rest of the world, the most sensible form of regulation seems to be in Bhutan — a small country for which the resulting loss of revenue must be significant. Why can’t India, with a much larger p0pupation and a more diversified economy, ban not only smoking and sale but even manufacture of tobacco and tobacco products. The next step, we due safeguards for the livelihoods of farmers, could be a ban on the cultivation of tobacco.

  3. October 1, 2008 9:40 am

    Agree with most of what you say, even though I enjoy the rare smoke! There is no reason why non smokers need to be forced to inhale. Plus – it is often seen that smokers won’t subject their own families to it (“Oh, I can’t smoke at home since I have a small child”) but feel quite ok subjecting other people’s children to it. But the one provision I cannot understand is that companies cannot have designated smoking rooms – since that’s only going to be used by smokers, I don’t see what the hassle is.

  4. October 1, 2008 9:54 am

    I feel that in India, u have to be an autocrat or a dictator to impose a ban or to impose a law which benefits common people .. There will be anger, opposition, processions but u hv to stick to it .. and this requires more than a little courage .. Only dictators hv it ..

    Gujarat never had Helmet rules .. Many chief ministers applied that law but then it was taken back due to people’s oppose and anger and keeping vote-bank in mind.. But the media-proclaimed so-called dictator Mr. narendra Modi imposed helmet rule .. People oppossed .. Many processions were carried out .. But as we know that he never cares about such things and still the rule is intact in Gujarat .. Not many people follow it though as police has become little lenient about the rule ..

    So it’s only fear of paying the fine can make Indian people disciplined .. So I welcome the move by our health minister .. Kudos to him ..

  5. October 1, 2008 9:58 am

    Smoking in public places will stop only when penalty charges are collected. Who is going to collect this penalty charges ? If it is Police, they can not be present all around.If a common man takes the pain of calling nearby police, by the time police reaches, the smoker can easily extinguish the cigarette.Awareness to stop smoking has to be increased like what Britain is planning. Placing gruesome images of rotting teeth, tarred up lungs and throat cancer tumors on cigarette packs. http://feww.wordpress.com/2008/09/27/one-good-thing-out-of-britain/

  6. October 1, 2008 10:09 am

    Nita, maybe the government and media should make popular the study that shows a causal relationship between smoking and ability to get it up in the bedroom.😉
    That should sober up some people and take care of a big chunk of smokers.
    http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/smoking-and-libido

    Maybe we can have some ex-smokers go on TV and talk about their experiences before-and-after, and how life is better after they quit smoking.

    Combined with smoking is the issue of littering – as many smokers simply throw away the butt in the streets when they’re smoking outside.

  7. October 1, 2008 10:41 am

    This is different. This ban is important for our collective health. We should make it happen.

    Let smokers smoke at home or in other private spaces. Why should we, non-smokers, become passive smokers.

    I am happy at this ban. It protects the rights of the majority who are non-smokers.

    I thought that hotels and restaurants were infact enforcing the ban from tomorrow.

    Re: The point raised by Vikas on banning cultivation of tobacco. I understand that farmers are being slowly weaned away from cultivation of tobacco to other cash crops and medicinal plants especially in Andhra Pradesh. Maybe, you could have controlled cultivation like what we have for poppy.

    Out Health Minister is projected as a man courting controversies but I think that the points he raises are very valid.

  8. October 1, 2008 10:45 am

    @ Vivek:

    Bhutan has not tasted many things that the rest of the world has. It is therefore easier to have absolute diktats work there than it would be in India or in the UK.

    One of the reasons for regulating tobacco so tightly is so that it does not gain the glamour of ‘underground’ drugs such as cocaine. So keeping it above ground but tightly limited is an optimal – not the best – but optimal solution.

    @ Nita

    Vivek raises a question re enforcement. The smoking ban in enclosed public spaces in the UK is tied to employees’ rights to working in a safe and healthy environment. As such it is the employers’ duty to ask violators to leave their premises. So the person whose name is on the bar licence that should tell punters smoking inside to get out.

    There is mixed evidence of the impact of smoking on business in the UK. Some reports suggest pub takings are down because with a drink, people like a fag and they are not staying very long in pubs now. Some says takings are up because of families that can bring kids in for a pub lunch more often.

    Above all, societal readiness will determine whether the ban works or not. It took over 2 decades in the UK to come to a ban. Now smokers are social pariahs – except those smoking cigars in ‘smoking rooms’ in private members’ clubs where it is still about socialising – which is not the case in India. One of my smartest friends is a Marketing Director in the world’s largest tobacco companies (I have known him much longer than his career in this firm). It is evident that developing countries are in the sight of his firm and of those like his. Even the once-health-minister in the UK, Dr (medical!) John Reid is on record saying smoking is one of the last cheap pleasures affordable to the poor person. This is the biggest hurdle in the success of this ban in India.

    Good post. If I meet the man who was smoking in your daughter’s face on the flight, I will punch him!

  9. October 1, 2008 10:54 am

    Long comment with mistakes – hah!:-/

    Superfluous ‘that’ in “..whose name is on the bar licence that should tell…”.

    Some say, not some says.

  10. October 1, 2008 11:05 am

    @ Vivek K

    I have heard that Bus conductors, school teachers and even one’ s boss in the office are among the several authorities to enforce this law

  11. October 1, 2008 11:12 am

    Well, I did not know there was ban to start in India as well. Thanks Nita for the post!!

    I am living in UK since past 8 months and I was here after the ban started. But in the ban, it was allowed to smoke in designated smoking areas around the companies!! I dont see a point in banning that also.As you said, it leaves only home for smoking!! In a long run it may give some effect but short term losses are going to far more significant than anticipated…

    Except for that, I personally feel , ban should be in place!! I am allergic to smoke (not just “not liking”)….It was huge difference when I went to Netherlands early on this year where the ban was still not started (started in july 08)!! As a personal experience , I found it horrible in NL even to go out on shopping! I should be frank with you, I never faced any difficulty in India…the number of people smoking here are significantly more (may nt be in numbers, but def in percentages).

    Lets hope that these chain smokers, realize they are puttin their family in danger too…I wont take long for them to quit or trying to quit this hell of a habit!!

  12. Abhiroop permalink
    October 1, 2008 11:44 am

    I am a smoker (and neither proud nor ashamed of it), and I support the ban. I’ll smoke at home. Its ok.

    Nice, well rounded article.

  13. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 1, 2008 11:45 am

    @ Vivek M:

    When I mentioned “enforcement” I was including in its scope the right to charge and collect a fine and to issue a receipt against it.

    As far as I am aware, in any society (not only in a democratic society) such powers are vested only in formal law-enforcement agencies and can be delegated only as far as a specified level (however low in the hierarchy it may be) of official functionaries of that agency. This would normally mean not lower than a police constable.

    The school-teacher, the bus conductor etc. that you mention would certainly be authorised to prevent the “crime” and even to compel the offender to leave the premises (that includes a bus) where s/he is commiting it. However, I don’t think it gives them a right to (say) remove a student from the rolls, to confiscate a passenger’s ticket etc., much less the right to charge and collect a fine and to issue a receipt for it.

  14. chirax permalink
    October 1, 2008 12:54 pm

    Nita, 100% with you hate smoking, but Drinking🙂 Hmm….But we all should make sure it is implemented properly. so Pl. don’t be polite anymore when it comes to smoking.

  15. chirax permalink
    October 1, 2008 12:55 pm

    Nita, 100% with you on this one, I too hate second hand smoking, but Drinking🙂 Hmm….But we all should make sure it is implemented properly. so Pl. don’t be polite anymore when it comes to smoking.

  16. October 1, 2008 1:14 pm

    I can understand your sentiments Nita… I also understand smoking is bad for the one who smokes and one who is near to person who is smoking(passive smokers), as compared to alcohol which only affects the one who comsumes(though alcohol in way affects the family of alcohol intakers.)

    But But But.. where will people go and smoke now?

    How is ban in designated smoking area in offices justified? No non smoker is inivited to such areas, so I feel its actually good to have smoking areas.

    Where will one go and smoke now?? at home??

    I understand it is a revenue generating thing, so govt cant stop smoking. if one is so concerned a ban should be made on selling/buying of cigarettes/bidis why banning it on smoking in public?

    Some times you do not have a choice and you have to unwillingly smoke passively( as in your second experience) but how many times this situation arrives? Is the percentage of unwilling passive smokers greater than willing passive smokers( people who dont mind other people smoking in their vicinity).

    Uff…hypocrisy….

  17. October 1, 2008 1:34 pm

    i am complete in favour of this! The other day at a party a man started smoking in the sitting area outside the hall and a couple of friends and me were there…he started smoking..well i just walked away because i could,but later when i had to come out,i was about to tell him to stop it..but my mom stopped me..thank fully he stopped smoking(otherwise,i didn’t care who he was,i would have told to cut it)…it is a matter of our health..let them do anything they want with themselves…..but not at my cost…

  18. October 1, 2008 1:39 pm

    Interesting post that’s bound to invite a lot of debate.

    ITC’s filing a case against the ban will have little effect. And, in all honesty I don’t think FMCG company will be too bothered about its decreasing revenues from the cigarette business (which is less than 50% now according to this piece – http://www.businessworld.in/index.php/BW-Opinion/A-Different-Company.html). It had the foresight to diversify into other agri-based businesses, when our former FM’s taxed cigarettes year on year.

    I doubt about its enforcement in every private office. Would they go to lengths such as keeping a vigil on employees – doubt it? And I think our law enforcement officers have way too important work to bother themselves with a surprise visit to private office complexes.

    Who knows what happens if Dr.Ramadoss doesn’t get the Health Ministry portfolio next time around?

  19. October 1, 2008 2:40 pm

    As a non-smoker, this is good news to me. However, designated smoking areas in companies clearly declaring so, would not harm anyone. In fact companies would be obliged to create them for the benefit of non-smokers and to prevent passive smoking. Would there be a proviso somewhere, in small print? Moreover, while we are overjoyed with the law, smokers would be busy looking for loop-holes – for letting out their smoke-rings as a signal of victory!

  20. October 1, 2008 3:17 pm

    Happy to hear the news, thank you, Nita!
    You are very lucky in India that it finally worked out.
    Imagine, in Austria where I live now smoking is still not banned…:(

    Austrians are smokers Nr.1 in Europe and even the Austrian government do not support any anti-smoking campaigns…The reason are same you gave – smokes believe it is their right and no one can dare to oppose, otherwise blamed as fanatic or else…Really hard issue here😦

  21. October 1, 2008 3:20 pm

    one more intersting fact: my boss it is an anti-smoker. Her proposed a 100 Euros higher salary for those emploees who would give up smoking. And what do you think? – they refused!!
    They say they`d rather keep smoking than get healthier and earn more🙂 Amazing, this kind of stupidity.

  22. October 1, 2008 3:28 pm

    Axinia

    Offering higher salaries to non-smokers can be considered a discriminatory or coercive practice in the workplace. It can be challenged in European Courts of Law. By not accepting employees might have done your boss a favour but if someone wishes, he could bring a lawsuit against her and the company if this offer was made in writing.

    However when discrimination is institutionalised, such as in a smoking ban, it can be challenged during the consultation process but not afterwards (unless someone is loaded or being bankrolled by someone else who is).

    Research in the US shows that there is a correction – downward – in smokers’ (and in obese persons’) salaries because they push up group health insurance rates.

  23. October 1, 2008 3:32 pm

    Odzer woke up late but he is here, he is here. Anyway yes I do equate bans with fanatics. I am sure there are better ways to stop people from doing what they want to do. People will find a way of doing what they want to do in any case. In India I have often observed that “Bans” are more of a publicity stunt than anything else. Lets ban gays, lets ban couples, lets ban having sex in the park, lets ban plastic bags, lets ban congress grass, lets ban feeding the monkeys, lets ban trucks in the day time, lets ban people who say things we do not like.

    I do not think its the signs of a very mature culture. You wrote this article based on your personal experiences which I think were very nasty, I am less bothered by smoking in India than in China. I remember sitting for two hours in a tourism office in China while the official kept chain smoking. Smokers here are generally well behaved because the local dominant religion sort of makes it a taboo to smoke.

  24. October 1, 2008 3:33 pm

    The step is a very courageous one from the part of government..
    I know its quite hard to implement it actually considering the number ppl who smoke but i am happy that at least they have taken a step ahead..

    and as far as ur experience in flight is concerned i think that was very irresponsible of him. personally i feel till smokers take a social responsibility themselves smoking is difficult to curb…

  25. October 1, 2008 3:37 pm

    @ Shefaly : Having been in Bhutan 3 times over the past decades I have tasted many things in Bhutan that India has never tasted, they even have Seaweed flavoured Lays and a very tasty Thai Iced Green Tea🙂
    You should go to Thimphu sometimes you can find anything you can find anywhere in a major world capital. By the way the whole country of Bhutan is addicted to chewing Pan but it is surprisingly clean. They do not spit it everywhere like here.

  26. October 1, 2008 3:47 pm

    @ Odzer:

    I do not imagine Bhutan to be Atlantis but the impression from reading about them is that they are not a wild, violent bunch who will set fire to things and protest noisily against any and every thing. Which – and their paan chewing but not spitting – sets them in contrast with many of the world’s other countries, including India and the UK. Ergo, diktats, however extreme, may work better where there is little opposition or fear of violence from the public.

  27. October 1, 2008 4:40 pm

    Vivek K, the enforcing authority are sanitation inspectors. But apparently any police officer above the rank of inspector (I think) can also be complained to. They can levy the fine. About your point about tobacco, well people will start to manufacture spurious tobacco and sell it illegally and therefore it could harm the health of people.

    Apu, that is what I have seen too. Many smokers want to protect their families but do not care about others.

    Soham, I am not sure about that. But I do believe that enforcing a law strictly need not fall into the category of dictatorship. I mean, a law is a law. I am a law abiding citizen and therefore I follow the laws without having anyone forcing me to. Whether a certain law is dictatorial or not depends on the individual’s perspective. But I do not think this particular law or even the helmet law is dictatorial. I think it is truly beneficial.

    Old Sailor, yes you are right. Awareness needs to be increased and this is happening here too. The law to allow pictorial warnings has been approved in India.

    Amit, the problem is that addicted smokers could well prefer smoking!🙂

    Mavin, controlled cultivation is a good idea. It will increase the price of tobacco which will discourage smoking.

    Shefaly, that social readiness thing is very important. For that you need a high level of awareness and education and we do not have that in India. So I guess we are not ready, and it’s amazing that India is going ahead with it! Over here smoking is not looked down upon but even considered hep and cool so I don’t know how the smoking public will react.
    As for that man on the flight, yeah, he and his ilk deserve that and more.

    Vivek M, they are the one who will supervise it because the law will hold them responsible.

    Sahaja, thanks for sharing that. Here in India I think it depends on where you go. In pubs, restaurants, discos etc almost everyone seems to be smoking and even at work until recently where some companies had started to keep some areas aside. They won’t be allowed to do that now, but yes, I do not see anything wrong with it.

    Abhiroop, wish there were more people like you!

    Chirax, well, one wants to avoid trouble. By the way, in India you never know who can get violent or abusive!

    Sharad, well, I am not against designated areas in offices…but if not that, then there are hotels with smoking rooms and there is the home. Certainly the home is better than subjecting others to the passive smoke. However I do not understand your term “willing” passive smokers. Do you mean the pushovers or do you mean the ignoramuses? In any case do you think that as a smoker you should subject someone to passive smoking just because he/she is unaware of the dangers?
    Also, your last sentence was not clear. I supposed you were referring to yourself?

    Vishesh, it was good to hear such a strong statement from you. You are are only 17 but you realised that your mother was just being polite and you wanted to assert your rights! Way to go! I am myself too polite at times!

    Lakshmi, I agree that ITC is not strong enough, but the hoteliers association has many powerful members and many politicians are in it too. So I wonder! And yes, you never know what will happen next year once Ramadoss goes! I am dreading that, maybe smokers will come out with a vengeance if the ban is ever lifted!🙂 About enforcement yes there are going to be problems, it’s going to be a slow process.

    Gopinath, I too think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to let smokers have their little rooms to smoke. As for loopholes, well I am sure they will. They could use a cloth to partition a room and call it smoker’s enclave in a restaurant!

    Axinia, sad isn’t it, that the smokers are trampling on non-smoker’s rights? But rest assured, the ban will come to Austria too. Life always goes forward, not backward. Well, I am an optimist.🙂

    Odzer, good morning. You are talking of bans in general and I find it very difficult to argue in general terms. However when you mention my nasty experiences, remember that I am just one person. Everyone has had their experiences. And those were just two experiences. I can recount about a dozen more but don’t want to bore you!🙂
    You are right about China though. People smoke like chimneys there! However I found the Chinese far more well behaved and polite than people in India. Generally my experience is that you cannot tell people here not to smoke. They get angry. In China people are so polite it’s sweet! Speaking from experience as we were in China for a holiday.
    And good to hear that people in Bhutan don’t spit. We in India can be pretty much without civic sense…whether it’s spitting, using blaring loudspeakers or subjecting others to passive smoke!

    Arvind, smokers I find (strangers) are not at all bothered about others. Like someone pointed out earlier in a comment, they want to ensure that their own wife and child is not exposed, but they don’t care about others.

  28. October 1, 2008 5:16 pm

    neeta,

    I agree with you intoto. Thanks so much for this comprehensive post that speaks about the facts and not a mere outburst of activistic endeavor.

    its high time that the smokers of the world understand that there are silent sufferers of their passion and habits.

    and its ridiculous to compare smoking with sex. when one cant find any other reason to refute, then take refuge in a debate which is of no relation. This is what we call EGO.. “you die… i dont care.. I will smoke” attitude… huhhhh.

    you cant endanger the life of your Joe Blogg pal and claim saintly that you are not a social evil.

    one cant say the difference between a fiend and a friend… these days… a smoker to a non smoker is certainly not a comrade.

  29. wishtobeanon permalink
    October 1, 2008 5:30 pm

    Hi Nita, I am glad that the govt. is taking such a step. I hope the ban will be enforced. There is a ban on public smoking in the place where I live and I am really glad for it – I cannot tolerate smoke. I can’t imagine the plight of innocent commuters/office goers inhaling second-hand smoke everyday on trains, buses or in offices.

  30. October 1, 2008 6:53 pm

    @ Nita

    by my last sentence uff…Uff…hypocrisy….
    I meant about govt being hypocrite in bringing the ban.

    By willing passive smokers I meant people who don’t mind passive smoking, for e.g when I was bachelor and had to share my flat with few smokers I didnt mind then smoking in the room, neither do I mind going out with my friends who smoke, so I am a willing passive smoker, hope u understood… damn..my pathetic english.

  31. October 1, 2008 6:54 pm

    and it seems only me and Odzer have the “other” thought here.

  32. October 1, 2008 7:27 pm

    I totally disagree with you, Nita, and also with most commenters, specially Vivek K.
    The issue is not that smoking is harmful or whether a smoker can get it up or not. That is his own personal issue. There are two issues here, if you look at it from the ethics viewpoint:
    1. Rights of non-smokers: I have a right to breath clean air if I have some stake in the space. If I am a non-smoker and demand that you stub it out in your own home or in your own office (where I don’t belong), I am being irrational. In common ares like libraries, pubs, banks, airlines, etc. the onus of allowing or disallowing smoking should be vested in the owner of each property. Don’t want smokers in the library? Don’t go there. In a free market, there would be ample alternatives for such a large consumer group as non-smokers.
    2. Rights of smokers:
    Yes, but not where you have no locus standi. You can’t smoke in my home, but you may do so in yours. Similarly, the act of smoking in public places should be dependent on whether the owners permit it or not.
    This ban is as dictatorial as the demand that cultivation be stopped. Tomorrow vegans will demand that not only meat be not served, but butcher shops be closed down. After all, meat eaters are at a higher risk of cancer, etc.
    This is one of the dangers of do-gooders. Once they taste blood, they will regulate till there are more laws than men. Remember Animal Farm: “All is permitted, that which is not prohibited!”
    Disclaimer: I do agree with regulation of smoking in places like banks, hospitals, shopping malls, but I repeat that this regulation should be that of the owners, not the Government’s. Another undue power over individual choices and actions.

  33. October 1, 2008 8:25 pm

    I think a ban is necessary in Public establishments and I agree with you Nita on that. This will rid of all the passive smokers, help us non-smokers. I cannot agree with Rambodoc’s analogy with Vegans. A Vegan can sit by the side of a non veggie and still eat without being affected by the meatishness coming out of the meat. But when you sit down with a smoker, you are involuntarily inhaling the puffs of smoke coming out of the cigarette.

  34. October 1, 2008 8:32 pm

    Over here smoking is not looked down upon but even considered hep and cool so I don’t know how the smoking public will react.

    Nita, there are good reasons for why smoking is considered hep and cool:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7632963.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6625753.stm

    Another undue power over individual choices and actions.

    R-doc, agreed. Those tobacco companies, I tell you, wielding such power and influence on individual choices and actions.😉

    BTW, what exactly is this “free market” you keep mentioning? Can you give some examples where it is happening? You have been championing the American crony-capitalism/socialism-for-rich as “free market” for a while now, but is it really “free market”? Or is “free market” some kind of utopia promised in a book? Please write a post on your blog and educate us ignorant fools.🙂

    As for reports on smoking linked to libido, all I’m proposing is some *sunshine* to take care of information asymmetry. Let the smokers decide after they have facts on their hands – which are conveniently hidden by the cigarette companies; and in the 1940s in the US, doctors actually endorsed smoking because they were paid by the cigarette companies.
    http://www.old-time.com/commercials/1940%27s/More%20Doctors%20Smoke%20Camels.html

    I just find your opposition to framing the debate in terms of educating public on the health risks really puzzling. (Though I do understand that it’s the medical and pharma companies that stand to benefit when the smokers develop different forms of cancer, so in a perverse way, it helps the economy and probably increases the GDP.) And the cigarette companies are not going to promote/advertise the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, so the government has to do it.

    Next, you’ll be fighting for the polluting companies and telling us that if breathing the air makes us sick, we should get air cylinders (as used while diving) and wear masks, but let the companies keep polluting the air, because it’s their right to pollute.

  35. October 1, 2008 9:48 pm

    Right, Dinesh, but what if it is MY restaurant, and I permit smoking within MY property?
    The contrary argument is similarly valid.
    You have a choice to go to a non smoking restaurant, or one that permits smoking. Everyone’s valid right to choose is preserved here.

  36. October 1, 2008 10:30 pm

    @ R-Doc: A restaurant by definition is a ‘public’ place. So as a restaurateur, you cannot refuse entry and you cannot discriminate between smoking and non-smoking punters’ rights, especially if one group’s rights trample over another group’s rights. Private members’ clubs are not and can invoke that status to refuse entry. Bad example!

  37. October 1, 2008 10:31 pm

    Rambodoc
    “what if it is MY restaurant, and I permit smoking within MY property?”
    I would agree partly. Restaurant is a different kind of public place than a Park. So if a Restaurant owner wants to make it as smoking allowed then it should be fine. But does it mean non-smokers will not be allowed there or will non-smokers stop going there? I think that’s why the Govt. wants them to put a separate section for smokers. It is a trade off.

  38. October 1, 2008 10:34 pm

    There are two issues here, if you look at it from the ethics viewpoint — you forgot to add “as I define them.”🙂

    So, shouldn’t individuals have the freedom to disagree with how you frame the issues, and use different metrics that are more important to them? Or, do we all have to go by your definition of ethics because your ethics are universal and universally accepted?😀

  39. October 1, 2008 11:40 pm

    @ Shefaly : No they are not likely to set fire to things but more likely to stab people. Just kidding.

  40. sharan permalink
    October 2, 2008 12:52 am

    there is a lot of other things to ban in india, not only smoking, please concentrate on that (First have to ban girls dress)

  41. October 2, 2008 1:14 am

    Hi ,
    A good , post on the ban! Hope this ban lasts long. I would like to appreciate the Health Minsiter first , and the citizens who support this. But as you have posted anything might happen, as we all know about the so called ‘Politicians and politics in India’ and where bribe plays a vital role.I heard that in Kerala smoking has been stopped long before this ban . Now let us all join hands to- gether to stop smoking in India.

  42. October 2, 2008 2:55 am

    This issue has been plaguing for a long time. I don’t think there would be any permanent solution. Am truly disgust with smokers who refuse to take responsibility and behave as though the world belongs to them. If you are not health conscious, at least think of the person next to you. I am bewildered with your flight experience Nita. Nonetheless, I am not sure how much govt intervention would work on this “epidemic”.

  43. October 2, 2008 5:28 am

    Amit:
    I am sure you think ‘ethics’ is yet another vague relativist word that should mean many things to many people. Where have I disagreed with anyone’s right to disagree with me? I comment merely because I think there is this perspective that should be highlighted by someone. That truth is not the handmaiden of the control freaks.
    Let us move on. I merely said what I did to give a perspective on the ‘rights’ aspect of laws and policies.
    “BTW, what exactly is this “free market” you keep mentioning? Can you give some examples where it is happening? You have been championing the American crony-capitalism/socialism-for-rich as “free market” for a while now, but is it really “free market”? Or is “free market” some kind of utopia promised in a book? “
    Amit, here is another example of how you keep wilfully distort things I say (unless you are joking or being intentionally provocative, in which case you have succeeded to an extent).
    Where, name me once, have I defended the American system as a ‘free market’ system? I have always maintained that the US is increasingly mired in regulations and restrictions on free enterprise. You are correct in surmising that the free market is a utopian concept today. There is NO real laissez-faire economy anywhere in the world, and there probably never was. So it is
    a concept in a book, several in fact. None that modern day activists would be caught dead reading.
    To come back to smoking, Shefaly, the restaurant is not a bad example. It is, in fact, a perfect example of how a private place owned by an individual or group for use by the public is now considered as a public place. It usurps the right of the owners to decide their own policies.
    Modern thinking on these issues is so far Left-influenced that these notions are never questioned any more. I don’t accept the concept of ‘public place’ without any ownership. If the Government owns a property (which, in my utopian world, it should have little of), it can stop smoking in whatever property the public would be forced to inhale smoke from others.
    Discrimination? Now this is a difficult area for me personally because I have yet to clarify some issues, but my gut feel is to think that owners should be free to admit or refuse to admit any others. I admit to a weak area here, but this is mine, not the weakness of the free market perspective.

  44. October 2, 2008 6:35 am

    R-doc, yes, I was being somewhat provocative.

    If someone defends the way corporations function (not how ideally they are supposed to function when all individuals reach an enlightened state), then I take it that they also approve of the American version of capitalism, because in practice the two go together. Yes, I did make a leap there, so my apologies if I assumed incorrectly or mischaracterized your position.

    Regarding ethics, I find it puzzling when someone (correctly) criticizes governments for their power over individuals based on ethics, yet glosses over or justifies similar proven excesses of a private entity for whatever reasons.

  45. October 2, 2008 7:39 am

    Amit:
    I understand. I do not support corporations for anything they may do, merely because they are outside Government*. My main interest in issues is to judge whose rights are being violated. If smokers sue tobacco companies for getting cancer, I think it is an evil, self-serving, irrational and crazy phenomenon. I do not dispute that corporations must be plotting to sell more sticks to all of us, but so is Coca Cola and so is every other entity in the market. It is our right to choose whether to smoke or not. Therefore, I hold the individual responsible for taking his own decisions, not the companies. Where children are concerned, they are not capable of taking informed decisions, so restrictions there are appropriate.
    * There was some corporation (maybe Raytheon- I apologise if not) which devised a torture machine. I saw the video: it was ghastly. Companies like these also exist in the world, and we deal with them like we do with bad men: avoid where possible!
    No hard feelings at all.

  46. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 2, 2008 8:37 am

    @ Amit:

    I wholeheartedly endorse your request to R-Doc to enlighten us on the “free market”. I am also eager to know Nita’s take on the subject.

    Vivek, It is not possible for me to answer comments on this one now because I am caught up in something urgent. I have been following this discussion avidly though, and I think you know that I do not agree with R’doc’s idea of a “free market” because I am not an idealist, I am a pragmatist. I thought you knew that. It is evident in all my posts. I cannot apply principles to all things, and I am a strong believer in the consumer movement. At the same time I am a capitalist as I do not think that these things are contrary. But I am bowing out of this discussion as will be on the “field” to to say the whole day today and tomorrow. However I shall try and post tomorrow. Thanks – Nita.

  47. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 2, 2008 8:53 am

    @ R-Doc:

    I noticed after writing the previous comment that you had responded to Amit’s request (5:28 a.m. today) en passant, on your way “back to smoking.” My apologies for being so remiss.

    But your response is rather rushed, I must say, and does not adequately justify the way you have been lampooning “governance”, “socialism” and similar other anti-oligopolistic/oligarchic concepts.

  48. Vinod permalink
    October 2, 2008 9:28 am

    Referring to dangers of smoking as exposure to second hand smoke is actually political correctness. I think it’s about time that we throw this aside and give the finger to smokers and tell them that they’re freaking wrong and stupid in smoking.

  49. October 2, 2008 11:03 am

    @ Doc:

    “To come back to smoking, Shefaly, the restaurant is not a bad example.”

    You are misconstruing and therefore misusing the words ‘private’ and ‘public’ in this context. It is not the dictionary meaning.

    A ‘public’ space is deemed public by virtue of the fact that it is open to the public. Which is why I gave the example of private members’ clubs – which of course you have ignored because it would interfere with and weaken your rant, oops, ‘argument’😉

    Anyway I will not be participating in this to-and-fro any further. I may not have a ‘corporate’ job, but I do have to work.🙂

  50. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 2, 2008 12:06 pm

    @ Nita:

    WRT your comment on my endorsement (8:37 a.m. today) of Amit’s request to R-Doc, the little I have read in economics and political science, and my amateur observations of the real world, lead me to understand that a “free market” is one of the cornerstones of “capitalism”. It does not matter how you define those two terms, but the correlation is generally claimed to be (and granted as being) axiomatic. So I don’t quite understand you when you claim, on the one hand, to be a votary of capitalism and, on the other, averse to R-Doc’s idea of a “free market”. What makes this all the more intriguing is that both of you are, or claim to be, “pragmatists”.

    Vivek The consumer movement goes hand in hand with capitalism. I think you have misundertood Rdoc. He is referring to Ayn Rand’s philosophy if I am not mistaken. If you read his reply to amit’s comment you will realise it. Thanks. – Nita.

  51. October 2, 2008 12:46 pm

    I am with R-doc on this one.

    Govt. can/should regulate smoking bans on streets or any public place(owned or managed by govt.).

    Bans at Airports, in airlines etc. should be regulated by the concerned authority.

    I, however, consider restaurants, shopping malls, pubs, bars, cinemas etc. as private properties or private commercial properties. They have a big board outside that says “Rights of admission reserved” and they have there own rules and regulations that they enforce with their own private police and security guards.

    I am also against companies/organizations/buildings not allowed to have designated smoking rooms or zones when it keeps smokers away and separate from non-smokers and it also keeps them away from public places like roads etc.

    And, I am a non-smoker.

  52. hoku permalink
    October 2, 2008 4:18 pm

    I don’t care whether it is bad or good for business. It is the best thing government has ever done in the domain of public health. Nothing is more precious then good health. Ultimately it saves (if implemented properly) lots of suffering and government money used for public health care.
    Now I am waiting for the pictorial marks on the packets of the tobacco products, it is already long overdue.
    Thanks Nita for the post.
    @Vivek Khadpekar
    Capitalism? Does some thing exists of that sort? It is free market as long as a hand full makes money. The moment they are in a mess due to the inherent problem of the system, it us upto the government to rescue them with public money. Good connections make sure that government is ready to Bail them out whenever required. Money is a problem when it is required for universal medicare, public education or infrastructure, but not for bailout of this sorts. Long live crony capitalism.

  53. hoku permalink
    October 2, 2008 4:26 pm

    Anshul@ whether a private property or a public place all are governed by the law of the land. No one else has right to have his/her own law.
    One of the primary responsibility of government is well being of the citizen. Government has every righ to enact and implement law which it seems good for the citizen.

  54. Praada permalink
    October 2, 2008 5:23 pm

    Ban In Denmark from 2007 only.

  55. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 2, 2008 6:11 pm

    @ Hoku:

    Capitalism? Does some thing exists of that sort?

    Well, you yourself have identified one kind in your last sentence. And there are many more varieties, some of which are not explicitely labelled “capitalism”. Some examples:

    Anarcho-capitalism

    Predatory capitalism

    Bush capitalism

    Byzantine Autocracy

    Colonialism

    Enron capitalism

    Republican capitalism

    Reliance capitalism

    WalMart capitalism

    National socialism

    Neo-liberalism

    Fascism

    Feudalimsm

    Kleptocracy………

    And many, many more. You can find most (though not all) of them listed under “uncyclopedia.org/wiki/You_have_two_cows/17”.
    Note: I have removed the “http” at the beginning of that link just to see if this keeps it from going into moderation until Nita can attend to it two days from now. It is important under any kind of capitalist régime, whether at State or at blog level, to experiment with ways of beating the system. By trial and error one can discover them, though not always first shot.

    And yes, I forgot to mention that communism is also a form of capitalism. It differs only regarding who controls the means of production.

  56. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 2, 2008 6:16 pm

    @ Hoku:

    My experiment!!!! IT WORKED!!!!!!!!

    Long live Subversion! Long live Anarchy! (Those are NOT a subsets of capitalism!! They’re vaccines against it!!!!)

  57. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 2, 2008 6:41 pm

    @ Hoku:

    For an account in a more satirical vein, try the link to //uncyclopedia.org/wiki/The_Burger_King (preceded, of course, by “http:”).

  58. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 2, 2008 6:43 pm

    OK! Important discovery: you should not insert a colon after “http”🙂

    Vivek, my moderation is set to the all comments with even one link go to moderation, therefore if wordpress suspects you are sending a link, the comment goes to moderation. – Nita.

  59. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 2, 2008 7:24 pm

    Nita, I hope you did not miss the smiley. For me, anything imposed by a mindless entity (be it a bureaucracy, a corporate SOP manual, or a computerised system) that does not exercise judgement while thus imposing, is a windmill to be tilted at. I have always delighted in beating such systems and doing little victory dances whenever I succeed. Nothing personal!🙂

  60. October 2, 2008 8:07 pm

    R-doc, come now. You are a doctor – do you really believe the long-term health effects of smoking cigarettes, as well as other physiological and psychological effects, are the same as drinking coke (soft drink) or eating biscuits? Cigarette smoking is shown to be addictive – is there any research that shows coke (soft drink) to be addictive in the same manner as cigarettes are?

    You write: “Therefore, I hold the individual responsible for taking his own decisions, not the companies.

    I think your assumption that an individual “takes his own decisions” is faulty, or is based on certain extrapolations based on n=1. One can take a decision only if one *knows*:
    1. the long-term effects of smoking on one’s health
    2. the addictive nature of it
    3. the psychological knowledge – accumulated through years of research – of how advertising affect consumers
    4. the suppression of #2 by these very companies in the past

    Why shouldn’t the government step in and try to provide some information to its citizens, or act on behalf of citizens based on that information? It can be argued that this action will prevent deaths and result in good health.

    I’d agree with you that an individual has full responsibility if it were a level playing field. It’s not; therefore, companies are at fault for their unethical behavior, and we do need government here to tilt the field in favor of the citizens.

    You’re also likely ignoring the number of *preventable* deaths and ill-health caused because of cigarette smoking, and the cigarette companies cannot be completely absolved of their responsibility. That would be unethical.

    We can learn from what happened in the US vis-a-vis cigarette/tobacco industry and try not to repeat those mistakes in India.

  61. October 2, 2008 10:33 pm

    @Hoku
    I am not saying private properties are not governed by the law. I commented on two different issues.

    1. Any such law that regulates smoking or whatever in any premises not owned or managed by govt. is wrong. Here, wrong means I do not support it. I do not know about it being morally or ethically wrong etc..

    2. In absence of any law or any other regulation by the govt., above mentioned properties like restaurants,shopping malls etc. have their own regulations, due to which I consider them private properties.

  62. October 2, 2008 10:39 pm

    This is a blatant violation of private property rights. I agree with Rambodoc more than anyone else. Here are some pointers of where I see this is moving next:

    + I don’t want people having common cough or cold to be banned too because I am at risk

    + I want to ban scooters and motorbikes as they pollute and harm my lungs and ears

    + I want to ban the use of all wooden furniture as woodcutting is chopping down natural balance

    + I find nauseating to find ugly and shabbily dressed people. It depresses me to find beggars too. They can go live in their homes, its not my problem

    + Social “deviants” (sic) like homosexuals and transsexuals disturb the social psychology. Before they “infect” others…

    Priyank, has this happened in the countries where smoking has been banned in public places? Aren’t they in fact more liberal than India when it comes to individual rights? In fact Ramadoss wants to decriminalise homosexuality, the same man who wants to ban public smoking! Banning public smoking to ensure the safety of non-smokers in fact protects individual rights, not takes them away. – Nita.

  63. October 2, 2008 10:40 pm

    oops, first bullet should read “I want …”

  64. October 2, 2008 11:57 pm

    it would be very interesting to see how it gets implemented.
    i would actually agree with Priyank – how far will the Government go to keep us ‘safe’ ?
    in mumbai, it is said that 5 mintues on Andheri Kurla Road at peak traffic times is the equivalent of smoking a couple of packs a day – maybe the next step is to ban traffic and people from the road🙂
    i agree with shefaly – if i meet this guy who smoked in front of his baby — i would definitely like to punch him where it really hurts !!

    my baby! so it means two punches! – nita.

  65. October 3, 2008 12:39 am

    well i hate smokers to the core! i would say its actually education which goes up in smoke!
    when you are taught from the beginning that smoking is injurious to health but despite of it you are doing it actually means you learned nothing. i hope this smoking ban is enforced strictly so that at least the non smokers get some relief!

  66. Padmini permalink
    October 3, 2008 3:29 am

    I really love this as I hate inhaling second hand smoke which can be even more dangerous than smoking. In our office, there is a designated area outside the parking garage where people can smoke and that is where they go come rain or shine. I say kudos to whoever is enforcing these rules – a step closer to a healthier cleaner nation.

  67. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 3, 2008 5:49 am

    @ Priyank:

    Although I don’t entirely agree with the “private property rights” part of your argument, I do think you have raised crucial issues in your bulleted points. Your pointers are to fascism, and we have been “moving” towards it, driven by our collective psyche, for a long, long time. That we do not seem to have already arrived is merely an illusory instance of Zeno’s Paradox (the first — the ‘Racecourse’ or ‘Dichotomy’ Paradox) at work.

  68. October 3, 2008 12:03 pm

    Where are you? No posts for two days? That’s not like you❓ I hope you are alright.

  69. October 3, 2008 1:26 pm

    Harsh, thanks. I agree it’s ridiculous to compare smoking with sex and in fact agree with everything you said!

    wishtobeanon, thanks. Yes “innocent” is the word. Innocent people often get the short end of the stick!

    Shefaly, I agree with your take on private clubs and restaurants.

    Sharad, thanks for the clarification. I wonder, are you aware of the dangers of passive smoking?

    Rdoc, If one goes by your argument and allows establishments to do what they want, they will allow smoking if the majority or even half their patrons are smokers. Maybe even a quarter because when there is no other restaurant, a non-smoker might decide to tolerate the smoke even if it harms his health. I doubt that there will exist any such thing as a non-smoking restaurant. I have personally not been to one.
    You probably find nothing wrong with this, but I do. Amit has explained this far better than I can. Private businesses do not care about people’s health (this includes tobacco cos and advertising agencies as well as hotels) and if they are allowed free reign, I fear that lies will be told about the products being sold. The bad effects of smoking will not be advertised , warnings will not be allowed, and more harmful products will be developed…there will be anarchy. A complete breakdown of human society. Private enterprise should be regulated by bodies to ensure that public health is kept as a priority. This happens in all “free market” economies. The model you suggest does not exist.

    Dineshbabu, agreed, no comparison with vegans. But as you will see on this post, all sorts of comparisons are being made! And you have admitted in your reply to Rdoc’s comment that there is nothing wrong if a private restauranter has a right to do what he wants. I hope you do not really think so. Private entities need to be regulated by the government when it comes to public health.

    Amit thanks for this:

    Next, you’ll be fighting for the polluting companies and telling us that if breathing the air makes us sick, we should get air cylinders (as used while diving) and wear masks, but let the companies keep polluting the air, because it’s their right to pollute.

    Ram, agree we all need to support the government on this ban. It’s for our good and the good of the future generations.

    Kiran, in India it is not easy to request another not to smoke. People think it’s their right as you said. It’s a big chance one is taking if one requests anyone! Chances of getting insulted are quite high.

    Vinod, I think you mean politeness. Yes, I know people are hesitant to tell another not to smoke because they don’t want to be rude. I myself have done this and hated myself for it!

    Anshul, everything is fine as long as it does not harm public health. Our populace is not that aware of the dangers of smoking as they are in developed countries and in fact here in Asia, smokers are increasing by the hundreds every year! If this continues to happen, soon non-smokers will have nowhere to go! They will be forced to sit in smoke filled restaurants and do passive smoking. Everyone will be affected, smoker or not! Private businesses do not care about people’s health. It is the government which needs to regulate it.

    Hoku, looks like for once we agree.🙂

    Priyank, Vivek K, have answered you in the comment itself.

    Harini, you haven’t said whether you are pro or against the ban.🙂

    Arpit, thanks. You know, from the comments I realised that many youngsters are supporting the ban and that feels great!

    Padmini, as you said, it’s going to all for a healthier, cleaner nation! Let’s hope for the best!

    Sakhi, you think too much like a doctor! Have actually been working.🙂

  70. October 3, 2008 2:41 pm

    😆 Ok, ok i will not let myself worry too much!!🙂

  71. Sundar permalink
    October 3, 2008 4:18 pm

    A very good move by the Indian govt. Smokers are scumbags . They put the innocent bystanders at risk . I really don’t understand what pleasure they get by smoking . Now the next big step would be to properly implement this law. And congrats to Dr Anbumani who despite so many hurdles went on to get this ruling passed. There was a recent TV interview in which he discussed at length about the problems he faced in getting smoking banned. Obviously many MPs and MLAs are involved in a big way in tobacco manufacturing and related stuffs. They weren’t pleased with his move. Its a kick below the waist for all those scums.

    Sundar, when I think of all those who have blown smoke into my face I can only think of one word – scum bags. – Nita.

  72. October 3, 2008 4:48 pm

    Does smoke from tobacco products pollute the air?
    If yes…
    Rights of non-smokers: I have a right to breath clean air if I have some stake in the space.
    If both smokers and non-smokers don’t have a ownership of the air, how can it be right for the smoker to pollute the air he doesn’t own exclusively and shares with others?

    In comparison, personal (ab)use of narcotic drugs is a personal issue as well, and does not pollute the immediate environment. So I wonder how the law should be in regards to that.

    Personally, I am an asthmatic, and I am biased towards thinking a public ban would be nice. When I was very young, I was once traveling alone in a train in winter and wheezing and a sainik (soldier) was sitting right in front of me, smoking and blowing smoke into my face with a challenging smirk, kya kar logi kinds. If there is a ban, one can at least protest where a request will be useless.

    Nomad, you touched a raw nerve with me there! Kya kar logi, you said. Oh god, the amount of times I have got that look, even if I frown and squint from the smoke!! I am so sick of these people who smoke into others’ faces!! Absolutely shameless people. – Nita

  73. October 3, 2008 10:53 pm

    A brilliant and comprehensive post, covers all the aspects.
    Personally i am happy about this new Ban as it would force me cut down on my smoking & finally to quit.

  74. October 5, 2008 7:35 am

    Beautiful post, Nita! It is my understanding that second-hand smoke is dangerous. If that’s true, then smokers have no more right to inflict smoke on others than does anyone have a right to inflict a potentially harmful substance on another person.

  75. October 5, 2008 8:31 pm

    I’m glad the govt has laid down clear guidelines. We had a huge debate on this on my blog a few days ago. I spoke for the smokers despite being a non-smoker. I think its the confusing signals. Its okay to sell tobacco products but you barely give them any space to consume it.. wow. so in one shot they keep the tobacco lobby happy and the non-smoker. hmm… i’m a peaceful passive smoker. I barely bump into smokers and I don’t mind it. I do feel however that offices etc should be allowed to provide a smoking room – how does it bother anyone else?

    That said – I’m glad for the ban because it benefits pretty much everybody ..

  76. October 5, 2008 10:47 pm

    I hope the ban really works and atleast we would have a right to stop people from blowing smoke at us. Quite opposed to Nomad’s experience, I was once travelling with my friend in a bus in Bhopal and a guy was smoking bidi in that congested bus. I protested with no response. But an army guy came to our rescue and made the other guy put out his bidi.
    Is a railway crossing a public place? Just today I’d a bad experience of a guy smoking at a congested railway crossing.

  77. October 6, 2008 9:49 pm

    Rahul, well I guess that is a positive way for a smoker to look at it. I hope you succeed.

    MadMomma, as you rightly said this ban is a compromise..keep big business happy and protect public health as well…but I think that in a hundred years or so tobacco will be banned or at least sold in a restricted way. Already, there is a high level of awareness about the dangers of tobacco in the developed world…the movement will start there. And you are lucky that you are not often exposed to second hand smoke.

    Reema, bus-stops have been designated as public spaces where smoking is banned, but I doubt that railroad crossings are. I am all for banning smoking in any crowded place.
    I have had a lot of exposure to second hand smoke as I have traveled the length and the breadth of the country (and often by myself) by train and also by bus. It is only in the last 5 years or so that my traveling this way has more or less stopped, although now one comes across smokers in restaurants. Hopefully this will now go or at least the smokers will be on the defensive if they are asked to refrain from disturbing others.

  78. Bombay wadapav eater permalink
    October 8, 2008 6:27 pm

    You forgot Germany.
    http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/0,1518,558669,00.html
    I completely agree with you. I am an anti-smoker and would prefer a smoke-free world. When I was in a museum in Savanna or Georgia (can’t remember but somewhere near Washington), history of smoking was portrayed. Smoking came from the red Indians. It was a luxury and was done only during celebration or religious rituals. They smoked tobacco in form of pipes. It had a certain meaning. When the whites went to America, they started cultivating tobacco on a large scale and became very rich and exported tobacco to Europe….
    Well, cigarettes have much more than just tobacco. A friend of mine who is an oncologist says that most of his patients are smokers so you cannot deny that smoking causes cancer and other heart diseases. True that fatty foods, alcohol, etc. is all bad for health and is India going to ban McDonalds and the like or country liquor sold in hideaus places near Lower parel and Elphinstone where many factory workers died due to some methane or whatever alcohol scandals?

    In a country like Germany where we have a social system and we pay enormous amounts of money into the health insurance, it boils my blood when I see smokers. Many of the smokers being jobless, homeless people, junkies and many many schoolgoers and university students, it is appalling since they pay nothing or negligible amounts for their health insurance. The latter get attracted to smoking since it is made sexy. When Sharukh Khan smokes, his fans will also take to smoking. It is also ridiculous to see educated high qualified people to let a little cigarette dictate their lives so much that some hide in the loo to get a fag. Can’t you do sth else to fight stress: deep breathing or meditation. Another observation was that cigarette companies are realising that Govts. are taking measures so they divert their sources of income. Camel produces rucksacks and a lot of adventure travel goods which is a bit of a contrast since smoking is really injurious to health whereas trekking is the good. Marlboro produces women’s clothings and I saw some very sexy stuff in a little boutique and guess what the stuff is mostly made in India or China. Philipp Morris (wonder if they still exist) sold designer products. Also another point is tho’ airlines have banned smoking in planes and most airports, they still make huge amount of money ba selling cigarettes and alscohol as tax-free goods on the planes as well as in the airports. Sorry for this digression but I guess this has to be stopped. It is no point to ban smoking but continue to let shops and airlines sell cigarettes at tax-free rates. Instead alcohol and cigarettes should be heavily taxed. Also we as non-smokers should not just ban cigarettes but also not buy any products sold under tobacco brands. Don’t forget shares so don’t buy shares from such companies and very important: will you give a miss to cricket. I remember that Wills was a chief sponsor of many cricket matches and the stadium had big Gold Flakes banners. Again the biggest hypocracy of ciagrette companies sponsoring sports. Don’t know the situation today but all this is also important and makes sense if smoking has to be eradicated. Also smokers, if you choose to die by smoking and cannot give this habit, don’t hamper our lives…I hate passive smoking and never went to restaurants only because of smoking. a better deal is Indian “tumbaku” chew that or the Swedish “snus”. That is cool too – at least I don’t have to inhale your terrible smoke. Remeber Newton’s second law of motion: to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: should we non-smokers start carrying small water pistols and blow water on your cigarette or some holi water balloons and bash it on your mouths when you blow a puff on us?

  79. vasudev permalink
    February 10, 2009 11:10 pm

    i am a confirmed smoker…i know that now. (i started back last night after 10 months of abstinence).

    smoking is as habit forming as pub going and smokers too should gang-up against the tormentors and take some frivolous revenge as the pub goers plan to do.

    i am glad that more and more youngsters are taking-up smoking. my children grew up in an atmosphere of ‘father-smoke-chimney’ and thus escaped the government sponsored ‘juvenile asthma’ which many of their classmates acquired by simply stepping on to the road.

    i and my siblings grew up in an atmosphere of chain-panama-smoking father-chimney and none of us are any worse for that (we developed enough resistance very early in the childhood and escaped asthma).

    therefore i strongly advocate a strong revival of the smoking culture (point of view).

  80. vasudev permalink
    February 11, 2009 10:16 am

    having said all that i must also state that i definitely now detest the idea of blowing smoke at a 2 month old baby (or any baby, for that matter). old smokers never used to blow smoke deliberately. the smoke just used to go out as truly as the co2 in the exhausted breath. but the incident cited by nita is a disgrace to decent smokers like me. but then, there are a..h….everywhere and they do their best to make the most of us look ugly in the public eye.

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