Smoking is the inhalation of the smoke of burning tobacco encased in cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. Casual smoking is the act of smoking only occasionally, usually in a social situation or to relieve stress.
A smoking habit is a physical addiction to tobacco products. Many health experts now regard habitual smoking as a psychological addiction, too, and one with serious health consequences.
Nicotine, the active ingredient in tobacco, is inhaled into the lungs, where most of it stays. The rest passes into the bloodstream, reaching the brain in about 10 seconds and dispersing throughout the body in about 20 seconds. Nicotine, by itself, increases the risk of heart disease. It increases the risk for many cancers.
On 12 July 1999, Kerala became the first state in India to ban smoking in public places when a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court declared “public smoking as illegal first time in the history of whole world, unconstitutional and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.
The Bench, headed by Dr. Justice K. Narayana Kurup, held that “tobacco smoking” in public places in the form of cigarettes, cigars, beedies falls within the mischief of the penal provisions relating to public nuisance as contained in the Indian Penal Code and also the definition of air pollution as contained in the statutes dealing with the protection and preservation of the environment.
Smoking laws and non-states. In the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, smoking is banned in all enclosed public places, including bars and restaurants.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers. Approximately 900,000 people die every year in India due to smoking as of 2009. According to a 2002 WHO estimate, 30% of adult males in India smoke. There are approximately 120 million smokers in India according to the World Health Organization. A Nationally Representative Case-Control Study of Smoking and Death in India”, tobacco will be responsible for 1 in 5 of all male deaths and 1 in 20 of all female deaths in the country by 2010. This means approximately 1 million Indians would die annually from smoking by 2010.
Prohibition of sale of tobacco products in an area within 100 yards of any educational institution was brought into force from 1 December 2004. In 2007, Chandigarh became the first city in India to become ‘smoke-free’.
Section 7 of COTPA deals with the “Display of pictorial health warning on all tobacco products packets”. It prohibits the production, sale and import of cigarettes or any other tobacco product unless every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco product bears pictorial warnings on its label covering at least 40% of the package. It is also mandatory for theatres to display a disclaimer on-screen whenever smoking scenes are depicted in the movie.
The nationwide smoking ban did not prohibit consumption of hookah in hookah bars. However, several cities in India have banned consumption of hookah in hookah bars. Police raids usually focus on punishing the owners and operators of hookah bars rather than the customers. Advertising through most forms of mass media is prohibited.