The Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking direction for removing designated smoking zones from commercial places and airports, increasing the age of smoking, banning the sale of cigarettes near educational institutions, healthcare institutions and places of worship.A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul while declining to entertain the plea said, “If you want publicity argue a good case… Don’t file publicity interest litigation”.
The plea had sought direction for increasing the penalty for smoking in public places, ban of the sale of loose cigerrates, creation of guidelines to handle filtration of air at places that have smoking zones,”Issue guidelines and direct dedicated ions for closing the smoking zones at airports, clubs, restaurants, hotels, public places and even in private properties being used for commercial purposes in a phased manner so as not to induce smoking among nonsmokers. Issue directions towards increasing the age to smoke from 18 to 21 years,” the plea stated.
The plea filed by advocates Shubham Awasthi and Saptarishi Mishra mentioned that the sale and addiction of cigarettes in the country and such products affect citizen’s right to health and the open smoking in places like airports, restaurants and clubs in designated smoking zones influences the adolescent population wrongly to take up smoking.”In 2018, WHO released its factsheet on the prevalence on tobacco consumption in India and it has quoted younger population in India to be at increased chances of cardio-vascular diseases and tobacco among which cigarettes are a major contributor killing 9 million people in India or 9.5 per cent of all deaths in India,” the plea had said.
In the present times, the rate of smoking has been growing for the last two decades and it has grown into such an epidemic that India now ranks 2nd in the smokers’ category for the 16-64 age group, it claimed.A study published in the Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco Research has flagged the severe economic burden of secondhand smoke exposure in India, the plea had stated.It had added that the study revealed that secondhand smoke causes Rs. 567 billion in health care costs annually. “This accounts for eight per cent of total annual health care expenditure, on top of Rs. 1,773 billion in annual economic burden from tobacco use. Smoking not only affects lungs but also causes vision loss,” stated the PIL. (ANI)