Shimla: The queen of hills is likely to be declared smoke-free by August 15, thus becoming the second city in North India after Chandigarh to have the privilege.
This was revealed by Gopal Chauhan, state nodal officer, tobacco control, at a media sensitisation workshop on ‘Smoke-free Shimla’ and Cigarettes and other Tobacco Product Prevention Act, (COTPA) 2003, here today. The day-long workshop was organised by Himachal Pradesh Voluntary Health Association with support from Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI). According to opinion polls conducted in 2009 nearly 97 per cent of public places in Shimla were smoke-free and as many as 3211 violators were challaned throughout the state to the tune of Rs. 5,59,900.
Intensive awareness campaigns regarding abuses and ill effects of tobacco have been conducted in 52 senior secondary and high schools in Shimla, according to Shri Narender Sharma, executive director, Himachal Pradesh Voluntary Health Association. He said that more than 94 per cent public places in Shimla were found to be free from cigarettes butts, bidi ends or tobacco litter. He said that the absence of smoking aids like ashtrays, match box and lighters were also not available in 94 per cent of public places.