If you're a chain smoker, you're in for some really rough time come October 2nd - the long gestating new rules for the ban of smoking will be implemented on Gandhi Jayanti.
The 'Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules' by the Union health ministry kick starts in October 2 would ban tobacco consumption in all government or private buildings. Sweating over what 'public places' means? Keep sweating, for the list is this - small cafes, restaurants, schools, pubs or discotheques, stadia, airports, hospitals and bus stands.
In you're caught smoking in the above places, you'd have to to shell out Rs 200. And that's just the first few days, because the fine would later be revised to Rs 1,000.
And the public places that allow employees to smoke within their building premises would have to cough up Rs 5,000 per employee caught smoking.
Smokers' only refuge would be the road or parks.
Also, under the new rules, cigarette and bidi packs will feature either a glossy photo of infected human lungs or an X-ray plate of the chest of a cancer-sticken man. Packets of chewing and smokeless tobacco products will flaunt a graphic image of a scorpion that depicts cancer.
Smoking on the road or the park will save others from the wrath of passive smoking. 250-300 million Indians consume some form of tobacco. And around 14.1% of school-going children have started to smoke.
Health minister A Ramadoss said, "Research has shown that smoking would kill 10 lakh people in India annually from 2010. At present, we estimate that 40% of India's health problems stem from tobacco use. So a smoking ban is essential to save India's future. A similar smoke-free policy introduced by England and Scotland last year saw 45,000 people giving up smoking in just 10 months"
We completely agree with Mr Ramadoss. So if you're a smoker and you think Mr Ramadoss is merely blowing smoke, you can expect the Smokeys showing up in your face brandishing Rs 200 chalans as smoking guns.