Highest cigarette consumption in Karnataka; tobacco control measures ‘erratic’ in most states: report

At 63.68 percent, the prevalence of smoking is highest among the adult population of Karnakata compared to other states, a recent survey conducted to assess tobacco control found.

The survey conducted by AF Development Care (AFDC), a research agency, found that the implementation on the ground of the measures required for tobacco control is ‘erratic’ in the country and that there is sufficient ground to improve.

Sachi Satapathy, principal investigator of the study and director of AFDC, said a reduction in the cultural acceptability of tobacco use is needed. “By implementing a comprehensive program that includes educational, clinical, regulatory and economic interventions, we can change the social environment that makes smoking unacceptable,” he said.

He added that cultural, ethnic, religious and socio-economic differences were also important in understanding patterns of tobacco use.

He pointed out that the highest prevalence of oral cancer in the world is now seen among Indian women.

“This is a major gap in the implementation of the FCTC, as there is no strategy or strong measure in India’s tobacco control policy to come up with a plan to help women reduce their smoking. tobacco consumption. The report calls on all stakeholders working on tobacco control to understand this change and plan accordingly, ”he urged.

The study also found that a majority of Karnataka participants (53.64%) believe that smoking is allowed in certain indoor spaces.

Similarly, a survey report on Designated Smoking Areas (DSA) in Bengaluru, published by the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) and the NGO MAYA (Movement for Youth Awareness and Alternatives), based in Bangalore, revealed that there is a flagrant violation of the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), and only 1.9% of establishments had no-objection certificates from Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to establish the DSA.

In the sites surveyed, 86.6 percent of people were unaware of the order issued by the BBMP that mandates the establishment of DSA in accordance with COTPA regulations to allow smoking.

In accordance with the provisions of COTPA, smoking is prohibited in public places. Any hotel, bar and restaurant with more than 30 seats must provide a designated smoking area to allow smoking on their premises.

The DSA must adhere to arrangements such as automated doors and exhaust fans to ventilate smoke outside without entering the non-smoking area, surrounded by full height walls on all four sides. This should not be at the entrance or exit of the establishment, with signs in English and regional languages ​​indicating that this is a smoking area. In addition, no service should be provided inside the smokehouse.

The baseline survey covered important elements of DSA rules. The observations of smoking in hotels, the establishment of a DSA and the NOC status (applied / approved / rejected) by the BBMP were observed mainly in the survey.

The survey was carried out in two regions of Bengaluru – Jayanagara and Indiranagar. These two areas were selected taking into account the density of population and public places in Bangalore, as more required sampling units were consolidated in these two areas according to BBMP list.

Each of the sampled units was visited at a particular time of day, generally between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. It was found that only 86.6 percent of the surveyed sites were unaware of the DSA letters issued by BBMP.

“Compliance with DSA standards by obtaining the NOC from BBMP was only observed in 1.9% of hotels, bars and restaurants. Although the provisions of COTPA have been present for nearly two decades, a significant number of breaches of the law were observed during the investigation, with an emphasis on strict enforcement by the local authority. as soon as possible. Tobacco contains more than 50 types of various chemicals and has a carcinomatous effect on the body tissues of both the user and the passive smoker, ”said Dr Ranganath TS, Professor and Head of the Department of Community Medicine at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute.

“One of our main goals is to implement DSA rules and increase compliance in hotels, bars, pubs and clubs in the city. This would be achieved through the integrated efforts of various departments such as BBMP, excise and police. Also considering the blatant violation of hotels, bars and restaurants, the government should modify COTPA and ban DSA completely and safeguard the health of passive smokers, ”said Alex Rodriguez, CEO of Bangalore-based NGO MAYA.

Renowned oncologist Dr Ramesh Bilimagga, who is also the advisor to the Consortium for Tobacco-Free Karnataka, called for an amendment from COTPA and that the provision for setting up DSAs be removed.

“Smoking directly or passively is a big threat to our health. As DSAs do not follow all established standards, it will be wise to ban them. Strict enforcement should be made to ensure that public places are 100% smoke-free, ”said Dr Bilimagga.

The report was handed over to BBMP and other authorities for action.