India’s new regulation extending the smoking ban to all public places, private workplaces and public transport came into effect on 2 October 2008(copy of legislation provided). Non-governmental organisations took the lead in informing local communities and business about the law and providing signages where required. Government and civil society developed resource materials and organised sensitisation workshops for diverse law enforcement agencies, such as state FDAs, Railways, Health Ministries. Together they are defending the law against tobacco industry-inspired litigation in the courts that is attempting to stall the ban.
Several states, metropolises, cities, towns and villages across the State have begun to enforce the law through concerted efforts.
The States of Gujarat, Jharkhand, and Sikkim, Metros of Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai, cities of Chandigarh, Ranchi, several districts such as Kottayam in Kerala, Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, and villages like Varanavasi in (Tamil Nadu) and Chinchgohan in (Madhya Pradesh) have taken significant measures in implementing and enforcing the law.
Smokefree resources available in 2009
The National Tobacco Control Programme, Government of India and World Lung Foundation has developed a website www.secondhandsmokekills.org with resources materials about the law, SHS and the signage.
India’s National tobacco control coalition, Advocacy Forum for Tobacco Control, has developed a smokefree kit for workplaces that are becoming smokefree. The coalition members are conducting training workshops for workplace managers in different parts of the country.
HealthBridge India www.healthbridge.ca
Public education materials/implementation or enforcement materials
Public education: in the run up to the start date for enforcement the Ministry of Health (MOH), Government of India ran a national level mass media campaign to prepare the community and business to comply with the law.
Enforcement materials: two manuals for enforcement officers have been developed by Ministry of Health with the support of NGOs for use by enforcement agencies.
Tobacco control laws by MOH and HRIDAY.
Enforcement of tobacco control policies: Global best practices by the MOH and HealthBridge
Needs related to implementing smokefree policies
As India is a large country, exposure to best practice implementation and enforcement sceanarios, particularly from other large developing country settings, would be helpful to India’s smokefree implementation efforts.
Factors helping or hindering the implementation of Article 8
Recent mass media efforts have helped to raise the profile of secondhand smoke as a public health issue and has increased awareness among the general public about the harm from it. Sustenance of these campaigns is critical to ensuring sustained implementation of the law.
Lack of a dedicated enforcement task force across the county poses challenges to nation-wide enforcement.
Subversive tactics of the tobacco industry in delaying implementation through litigation could pose a threat to the smokefree movement in the country.
Other countries that have influenced smokefree laws
First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Health Service Food and Human Resources: Discount wholesale cigarettes