Ban It!..Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way

You can sense the tide of opinion against smoking in the last year or so. It started off with a  ban on smoking in public last October in the world’s third largest market for cigarettes, with up to 250 million smokers, India.

ShahRukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan - criticised by India's Health Minister for causing a bad example by smoking on-screen

The ban applies to all public places, including restaurants, bars, offices, airports and even bus stops, though there will be exceptions made for larger establishments that set up separate smoking rooms. In an effort to clamp down on a habit that kills an estimated 1 million people every year, the government put in action a ban that carries a fine of 200 rupees (USD 3) – more than the average person’s daily wage.

Now, Turkey, which has one of the largest number of smokers in terms of percentage of the population( 20 million out of 72) has extended an existing ban to cover all bars, cafes and restaurants. BBC News reported that local authorities have hired thousands of extra staff to track down smokers and impose fines amounting to 69 liras (USD 45).

“We are working to protect our future, to save our youth,” said Health Minister Recep Akdag.

What I fail to understand is why other developing countries cannot do the same, when the big boys have already done so. Lack of political will? If so, newly-elected government leaders should put banning smoking high on their list of priorities because the tide of change has come and its time to act against this public murderer Number One!   (see my previous posting “Smoking..Its Not Cool Anymore”)

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