The effects of secondhand smoke

Are cigarettes harmful to health? Here we will not discuss the harmful effects of cigarette smoking because we know too much about the consequences. No amount of scaring succeeded in getting people to stop him.

So much has been said and said in this area, so much shown and so much read and understood, but it really doesn’t matter. The factories that make these cigarettes continue manufacturing. People who smoke these cigarettes keep puffing and puffing. The government involves a good burden of taxes on manufacturers and consumers.

Smoking in public places is a crime.

So what is this article about and why should you spend your time reading it? This article is dedicated to people who have no interest in smoking, or smoking as the cool generation of millennials call it, but who are still victims of all the ill effects generated by cigarettes. Victims of passive smoking.

Punishment for smoking in public places

The Government of India has enacted a law, the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2004, prohibiting smoking in public places among others. One of the main provisions provided for in the law is found in article 4 of the law, vis-à-vis:

Prohibition of smoking in public places Section 4: “No one shall smoke in a public place: it being understood that in a hotel with thirty rooms or a restaurant that can accommodate thirty or more people and in airports, a separate provision for smoking areas or space can be made”.

COTPA clearly sets out the provisions for public smoking, but what about the enforcement and administration side? Wishing it was half as compelling as the law and its rules call for, the COTPA violation fine is fun and hilarious:

“Any breach of any provision of this section shall be an offense punishable by a fine of up to ₹200. An offense under this section shall be compounded and shall be tried summarily in accordance with the procedure laid down for summary trials in the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973.

“If the owner, proprietor, manager or supervisor, or in charge of the affairs of the public place fails to act on the report of such a violation, he will be liable to a fine equivalent to the number of individual violations. Note: All offenses punishable under this Act are available”.

The cost of our living was set by COTPA. That is the exhilarating sum of ₹200. And to put the icing on the cake, offenses under this law have been described as bailable or non-aggravated offences.

Second-hand smoke and its effects

In order to understand the seriousness of this situation, let’s put our minds aside and understand what passive smoking really is?

Second-hand smoke (SHS) or passive smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). It is a mixture of 2 forms of smoke from the combustion of tobacco:

  • Main smoke: The smoke exhaled by a person who smokes.
  • Side smoke: Smoke from the lit end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar or tobacco that burns in a hookah. This type of smoke contains higher concentrations of nicotine and carcinogens (carcinogens) than mainstream smoke.

When we hang out with people who smoke or are forced to stay in the same place with them or work with them, we are inhaling the same concentration of nicotine and harmful chemicals as the person who is voluntarily inhaling it. The more we encounter such people in our daily lives, the more our children and ourselves are exposed, whose body is like a war zone for these toxic substances.

SHS consists of at least 7,000 chemicals.

In our daily life, we come across people with lung damage or lung-related problems, sometimes in our own families, even if they haven’t smoked a single cigarette in their life. Bollywood projects it in a very funny way, but the truth is that it is the SHS that affects us, our families and us. It’s really not cool.

SHS consists of at least 7,000 chemicals, of which at least 70 are carcinogenic chemicals. It increases the chances of heart attacks by creating blockages in our heart and lung vessels and blockages in our chest system. It lowers immunity in children and adults and these children are more likely to get sick more often, get lung and ear infections.

SHS is a big scare in society. It is a respiratory disease, the effects of which were seen during the COVID-19 pandemic situation where young people lost their lives due to severe lung damage, many of which had not had a single puff of their entire existence. We wouldn’t want that to happen to our families.

Smoking in public places is one of the major causes of SHS today. We may have a family member who is addicted to smoking, but the smoke that people inhale at bus stops, tea stalls, momo stands, restaurants is the most dangerous type of smoking that can happen. to exist. And there is no law, enforcement or jurisdiction that prohibits this in the full sense of the word.

Disadvantages of the law

Having COTPA without proper enforceability is scary, to say the least. All we have is a meager law, a meager fine law, that makes smoking a bailable offence. Should we wait for the government to act? Can we?

The Government of India has clearly defined the boundaries of no separate smoking area in public places which means that a public place is not allowed to have a smoking area nearby. But is the execution effective?

Can public places have a separate smoking area? NO. All public places must be non-smoking. However, the owner, proprietor, manager or supervisor or business manager of hotels with 30 or more rooms and restaurants with 30 or more seats and the airport manager may provide a separate smoking area.

We see people smoking in our faces, a small plea for abstention is met with all sorts of responses, ranging from embarrassment to arrogance, from a humble in agreement to a no fury and it’s dangerous to argue with such people. So deeply absorbed in the clutches of this addiction, no one is interested in worrying about the aftermath, they don’t care about their own health, and they don’t care about us.

So might as well enjoy a 2 hour car ride with an active smoker slowly inviting toxins and chemicals into our body, which is already struggling to adapt to all the lifestyle issues.

Offenses of this kind should be given sufficient weight. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

What is the solution? Are we supposed to stay home even after the lockdown and the millions of people taking the buses are supposed to walk to their offices?

The government should wake up. All three levels of government need to wake up.

The legislature should expand the law and apply it with immediate effect. The range of fines should increase to put a hole in the pockets of the offender in order to educate and discipline him in the future.

The executive form of government should ensure that no one has the courage to commit an offense of this nature. Police and traffic wardens must take charge and ensure that such an offense is not of a recurring nature.

And the judiciary should rule on the case on all its merits. We as the public should wake up. It is necessary to give sufficient importance to offenses of this type, not to be afraid and to take responsibility for everyone, for the family to which we feel we belong and for others as well. Our belonging increases with our responsibility.

Imagine the SHS effect on just one loved one, and you would never imagine the SHS effects on anyone.

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