(In a lighter vein)
As we pay our homage to the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, on October 2 this year, smoking would turn private! That is because public smoking may hit ‘zero tolerance,’ that day. From October 2, you may have to hunt for a private space if you cannot hold back your urge to smoke.
Unfortunately, nobody cares for statutory warnings in this country. They have been ruining their health (that may be extended to mean public health) in spite of the statutory warning on every pack of cigarette which says: “Smoking is injurious to health!” Smokers in India are incorrigible. They are gone cases. They are no different from people in other countries!
The government is very stern this time. You should not be seen smoking in office buildings, or their foyers and terraces. When you are in parking lots, staircases or some public transport, you may have to hold back your hand which might be instinctively reaching for that cigarette packet in your pocket! You may have to snuff out a burning cigarette and toss the stub into a garbage bin before entering airports, railway stations and bus terminals.
Just leave the cigarettes in your car or at home before heading out to malls or shopping centres; or, visiting bars, pubs, discos and restaurants. Don’t even think of smoking when you head for banquet halls, cinema halls, amusement parks, auditoria or stadia.
The government is letting loose police, food, excise, customs, sales tax, health, transport and a host of other officials to ensure that you do not emit smoke through your mouth or nose when you go public! That seems to be an air pollution control strategy.
From now on there would be no “No-Smoking” zones in public places because all public places would become non-smoking zones! These may be replaced with ‘smoking parlors’ where all active smokers may be encouraged to indulge in community smoking! This is mainly to discourage passive smokers from helping themselves to a free smoke and help enterprising businessmen to make a fast buck by encashing this unique business opportunity thrown up by the ban on smoking in public places!
That is not to say that you must quit smoking. Don’t get it wrong. Nobody expects you to quit smoking overnight—particularly, the excise department which makes a huge kill from the tobacco industry. And, if you want to burn your money and send it up in smokes that is entirely your business!