Second day of October is celebrated in India with great enthusiasm as it signifies the birth anniversary of the father of Indian nation Mahatma Gandhi (and also of a former Prime Minister and a man of principle Lal Bahadur Shastri). Gandhi, a personality comprising unbelievable simplicity, honesty, commitment and leadership quality led millions of Indians (including the then citizens of present day Pakistan and Bangladesh) to end the British colonial rule in India more than five decades back.

Open spaces including adult's parks, roads have not been taken under the restriction
Coinciding the auspicious day, the Indian Union government had restricted the hazardous smoking in public places starting from October 2. The central Health ministry came out with the enormous ban on lighting up in all indoor establishments. The prohibition covers all government, semi-government and autonomous offices, educational institutions, libraries, lifts, hospitals, clinics, court buildings, airports, sea and river port buildings, ferries, railway stations, bus terminals, hotels, restaurants, cinema halls, amusement centres, sorts complex, pubs and children's parks.

Open spaces including adult's parks, roads have not been taken under the restriction. More over, private homes and vehicles are also excluded from the purview of the law. The hotels with a seating capacity of more than 30 are allowed to maintain a separate enclosure for smokers.

"We have joined the group of smoke free nations on Earth," said Anbumani Ramadoss, the Union Health Minister of the country. The soft spoken but energetic minister Ramadoss assured that the Health ministry would implement the law wholeheartedly. The ban also includes the advertising of tobacco products on television, in cinemas and newspapers.

The violator will be fined USD 5, a significant amount of money for the larger section of Indians.
The violator will be fined with Rs 200 (around 5 USD), a significant amount of money for the larger section of Indians. The penalty may rise up to Rs 1,000 for an individual, if he or she is caught for the same offence again.

The government has authorized the administrative officers with the Railway ticket examiners and educational institutional heads to collect fines from the violators. Not only an individual (who disobeyed the law), but also the owner and the authorized officer in a public place will be liable for the punishment.

India with more than one billion population is the home of nearly 120 million smokers. Shockingly, 40% of deaths in the country every year are directly or indirectly related to tobacco. More over, India has the highest rate of oral cancer caused by tobacco consumption in the globe. It is also apprehended that around one million people die from tobacco related diseases like the cancer of lungs, lips, tongue, oral cavity, throat, uterus and urinary bladder each year in India.

During last August, the World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan commented that the anti-smoking campaigns were the best weapon to fight against cancer in the world.

"Cancer is one of the major threats to public health in the developed world and increasingly in the developing world. In developed countries cancer is the second most common cause of death," she revealed. She also added that prevention measures could be the most cost-effective way to limit the impact of the disease.

India's small neighbour Bhutan had shown the world years back that it could extend a giant step in curbing smoking. The tiny Himalayan kingdom, now turns into a democracy, became the world's first nonsmoking nation in 2004. Thimphu not only banned smoking in public places, but also prohibited on selling the such products.

But the total restriction on smoking in India had to face numerous hurdles basically from the cigarette companies and hotel owners. But the Supreme Court of India refused to delay the implementation of the law and rejected their petition to stay the order of the government for a country-wide ban on smoking in public places.

The apex court bench (comprising Justices B N Agrawal and G S Singhvi) said in its verdict, "We have given our anxious consideration to the entire matter. We are of the view that it's not a fit case to put any interim stay on implementation on ban on smoking." More to it, the apex court directed that no other courts in the country would pass any order on this issue.