Majority of Indians favour smoke-free workplaces: surveyFebruary 24th, 2009 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) A near unanimous majority of Indians - 99 percent - favour a prohibition of smoking in public places, including workplaces, restaurants and bars, and demand stringent enforcement of rules to check smoking in offices, a survey has found.
According to the survey released by Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) Tuesday, majority of people agree that “all workers in India should be protected from exposure to second-hand smoke in workplaces”.
A randomly selected sample of 1,026 respondents in four metros of the country - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata - were interviewed in December last year.
“Majority of Indians support prohibition of smoking inside public places, including workplaces, restaurants and bars and an overwhelming 99 percent of Indians strongly favour enforcement of smoke-free rules in work places in order to provide comprehensive protection from second-hand exposure to tobacco smoke,” the survey found.
Further, as many as 92 percent of respondents stated that exposure to second-hand smoke constitutes a serious health hazard for non-smokers.
In India, smoking in all public places, including workplaces, restaurants and educational institutions, is prohibited according to a regulation by the ministry of health which came into effect Oct 2, 2008.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Bhavna B. Mukhopadhyay, senior director of VHAI, said: “These concerns translate to the very strong belief among Indians that it is the right of customers and employees to breathe smoke-free air in workplaces and public places.”
S.S. Shastri, head, department of preventive oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, said: “India has always been faced with the rampant use of tobacco across all sections of society. The general consensus achieved by the survey is a very positive indicator of the sentiments of the public.”
“It is very heartening to know that Indians recognise the fact that second-hand smoke is a major health hazard, and feel that the ban on smoking in public places should be more strictly enforced,” said Shastri.