The Karnataka government on Saturday banned spitting of chewed tobacco and 'paan masala' in public places across the state, in an effort to avert the spread of COVID-19, an official said on Saturday.
"As per the powers conferred by the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020 Section 4(2) the state has banned the use of chewing tobacco products and consumption of paan masala products and spitting them in public places, so as to prevent the spread of corona and other communicable diseases," said an official in an order.
Violators will be booked under IPC (Indian Penal Code) sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 268 ( Public nuisance.), 269(Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and others.
The Karnataka government has already banned the sale of single cigarettes.
The central government had asked all the states and union territories in April to initiate steps to curb public use of tobacco to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation and the Indian Council of Medical Research have already advised against public spitting in view of the pandemic.
The decision was welcomed by activists who have been campaigning for banning spitting in public places.
Odette Katrak, co-founder of Beautiful Bengaluru, who has been driving a #StopIndiaSpitting campaign said, “Chewing tobacco induces the urge to spit and that in today's context is a disaster because it means a faster spread of COVID-19. Our petition and open letter ensured spitting itself is punishable, plus the PM mentioned it in Mann Ki Baat. Now, this announcement to follow gives hope. Even if it doesn't translate to the issue being solved overnight, it puts the issue more surely in the public eye, making it clearly a national priority.”
She added, “People will not stop spitting overnight but will not be able to spit as freely anymore. We are certain that if earlier just 35% of those who do not spit got involved, that will now increase 90% who will get involved and engage with someone spitting- as indicated by a survey we conducted to shape our ongoing campaign.”(IANS inputs)