In a push for a smoke-free Bengaluru, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has asked all hotels and bars in Bengaluru ban smoking inside their premises. If they still want to encourage smoking, they have to get a no-objection certificate from the civic agency to set up a designated smoking zone in the establishment.
In a circular issued on Wednesday, the BBMP clarified that all eateries and hotels in the city should be declared smoke-free zones, or they could apply for a no-objection certificate from the BBMP Tobacco Control Cell.
According to the civic agency, the move is aimed at reducing the risk that non-smokers are in – not just customers, but also the restaurant staff.
In Bengaluru, most eateries have a designated smoking zone, but the BBMP wants them to re-apply for a no-objection certificate or do away with the zone altogether, so as not to encourage smoking inside the premises.
“It is necessary that designated smoking areas must be removed as most of the facilities providing this do not follow the norms as specified by the law and put non-smokers at risk,” said M Shivaraju, BBMP’s ruling party leader.
The move comes just two months after the Tobacco Control Cell proposed the idea before the BBMP.
If restaurants, bars and eateries fail to comply with the new norms, their trade licenses could be cancelled.
“Currently most hotels, clubs and bars in city have self-designated smoking areas, which are a complete violation of existing laws. Concerned owners of these pubs, clubs, bar and restaurants are hereby requested to co-operate with us and remove these illegal smoking areas. Violation of this will result in the cancellation of trade license,” confirmed Manjunath Prasad, BBMP Commissioner.
Establishments with a seating capacity of more than 30 persons can create a designated smoking area after obtaining the NOC from the BBMP Tobacco Control Cell, or face cancellation of their trade license.
The BBMP had earlier launched an initiative called ‘Smoke-free Bengaluru’ in October 2017 to create awareness about the harms of second-hand smoking, especially on customers who don’t smoke, waiters and other persons working at the bar or restaurant.
“Recent studies have shown that there is no safe-level of second-hand smoking. We are concerned about the health of the staff, who is working in hotels and bars, and customers, especially women and children, in light of all scientific evidence pointing out that second-hand smoking is as harmful as smoking,” said BBMP Mayor Sampath Raj.