Shimla: Popular hill resort Shimla, once
the summer capital of British India known for imported
cigarettes and cigars, has been declared "smoking-free city".
Making the announcement at the state level Gandhi Jayanti
function at the Ridge here, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal
said that Shimla would be the fourth city after Kottayam in
Kerala, Chandigarh and Sikkim to be declared smoking-free".
"All district headquarters would be made smoking-free by
the end of May next year and a sustain campaign would be
launched against drugs, liquor and smoking", he added.
He said smoking in public places and sale of tobacco
product had been banned within 100 yards radius of all
educational institutions and selling tobacco or tobacco
products to minors and direct or indirect advertisement of
tobacco had been made an offence.
The Chief Minister also announced setting up of
de-addiction centres at all district hospitals where five beds
would be reserved for patients for de-addiction.
This facility is now available only in government medical
colleges at Shimla and Tanda. Reiterating government`s commitment to save the society,
especially the youth, from all types of addictions, Dhumal
said that in addition to strict legal provisions to curb drug
addiction, overwhelming support of the society was imperative.
"An international agency in South East Asia had conducted
a survey of Shimla town in May this year and found that 97
percent area of the town was smoking-free, warning hoardings
were erected at 80 percent of public areas and no signs of
cigarettes were detected in 94 percent of the area of the
town," the Chief Minister said, adding over 4,000 persons had
been challaned for smoking in prohibited areas and Rs. 8 lakh
collected as fine from offenders.