The step to restrict smoking openly in public has been taken keeping the problems which both tourists as well as local people face when some people smoke openly at public places. As per the directives, a person caught smoking publicly will be slapped a fine of Rs 200.
It may be mentioned that the neighbouring state Sikkim had declared it “smoke-free” state in June 2010. The Sikkim government had taken the decision after it was found that four-fifth of deaths in the state was due to non-communicable diseases.
The terrain of both Sikkim and Darjeeling is almost similar. Thus, residents of Darjeeling are also happy with the decision on putting an end to smoking in public places.
Besides slapping fines on smokers if they are caught smoking openly on roads or any public places, sellers of tobacco products and cigarettes will also be fined if they sell any such products within the 100 metre of any educational institutions.
If a person is found selling tobacco products within the stipulated area then they will be fined Rs 1,000 if caught for first time. In case they continue selling tobacco products near schools or any other educational centres and get caught for the second time, then in that case the fine would go up to Rs 3,000.
There are many people who hardly worry about such rules and continue selling tobacco products near educational institutions even after being fined twice. Thus, the decision has been taken so that a seller will have to serve in correctional home for 2 years if caught for the third time.
Teachers of different schools in the district have welcomed the move taken by the district authorities.
Anurag Srivastav, District Magistrate, said that restriction has been imposed from August 15.
Stringent steps will be taken if one is found smoking openly while walking on streets or in any public places.
It may be mentioned that there can be particular smoking zones in restaurants and hotels. People have to go to those zones for smoking so that others in the eateries do not have to be passive smokers.