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COVID-19 Impact: Maharashtra deems spitting & smoking in public- A PUNISHABLE OFFENCE

Approx. 25000 people die every week and over 40% of all cancers in India account of this habit.

May 30, brings the yearly celebration of World No Tobacco Day, the day focusses to inform and educate masses on the dangers tobacco possess and encourages audience to give up on it citing harmful health hazards.

This day has been observed since 1987 yet the ubiquity of tobacco’s presence footholds its grounds firmly across the globe.

Tobacco has gained mass popularity and has become the ‘need can’t go’ despite it’s hazardous effects on health.

The fear of prevalence of diseases and deaths due to the consumption of tobacco has failed to overpower the addictive sense of euphoria it gives to one’s dreary life making its consumers a slave under bondage of slow poison.

INDIA HOLDS A MAJOR CHUNK OF SMOKERS GLOBALLY

India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers and over the years tobacco has majorly contributed to spike in non-communicable diseases accounting more than 10 million deaths each year.

With over 120 million smokers in India, the existing practices and patterns of smoking and chewing tobacco for a momentary high is complex in India making it a popular substance to get going with giving the very clarity that the end of smoking in India may just be a dream.

Though technology improvises the evolution of tobacco from smokeless to e-cigarettes,  the health imperative still stands the chance of being neglected as India showcases the grim reality of smoking tobacco consumption in India where approximately 25000 people die every week and over 40% of all cancers in India account of this habit.

WHO WARNS AS CORONAVIRUS MAY WORSEN INDIA’S SMOKING CASE 

Even as the Coronavirus pandemic has decimated hundreds and thousands of lives globally the virus has exacerbated the perpetual lingering tobacco situation in India.

While the pandemic fails to lower down its presence the World Health Organisation has warned that smokers could be more vulnerable to fall prey to COVID-19. Since the side effects of smoking tobacco can lead to various diseases of the respiratory system, including lung cancer. COVID-19 is far more dangerous and unpredictable to be perceived as a simple respiratory virus. COVID-19 often attacks the lungs and goes on to strike anywhere from the brain to the toes, triggering inflammatory reactions and blood clots leaving patients struggling to breathe.

MAHARASHTRA GOVT’S NEW ANTI-SPITTING LAW

Presently, Maharashtra has become the worst-affected and hardest hit by COVID-19 with virus fatalities soaring high, the state marking the presence of World No Tobacco Day has made spitting, smoking and consumption of tobacco products in public a punishable offence.

Making it official, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope announced in a statement that the violators will be charged fine ranging on the times of their offences and will be imposed to perform public services.

The first-time violators will have to pay Rs 1,000 fine and perform public service for one day.
The second-time offenders will have to pay Rs 3,000 fine and perform public service for three days.
And after that the punishment would be Rs 5000 fine and five days of public service.

The state government also issued a notification warning that offenders will face up to six months in jail and repeat offenders up to two years in jail.

The state’s Public Health Department has invoked provisions of the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897, and the Indian Penal Code to penalise the offenders from now on.

While fears hovering over Maharashtra in wake of constant spike in COVID-19 cases it has been found that spitting contributes in spreading the virus. Considering this, the state government as part of efforts to curb and contain the spread of Coronavirus in the state has decided to take strict action in implementing prohibitory laws against those found spitting, smoking or blowing their nose in public.

Previously, The state government imposed fines for prohibiting laws made to contain in place the COVID-19 situation of the state, from increasing fine for violating the home quarantine to Rs 2,000 to imposing a fine of Rs 200 for not wearing masks to Rs 100 for spitting at public places to Rs 500 for violating home quarantine guidelines the government is doing all it can to keep notorious violators off their limits and bring under control the COVID-19 case of Maharashtra.

– Marilyn Ravi, NMTV News
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NMTV was launched in the year 1999, and is Maharashtra only accredited 24-hour, 7-day-a-week local cable news station of Navi Mumbai airing news bulletins and programs in English, Hindi and Marathi. NMTV represents the state-of-the-art in local television news coverage, delivering on a commitment of responsible and community-oriented journalism on an around-the-clock basis.

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