Months after making premises of its headquarters here, Nirman Bhawan, a tobacco-free zone, the Union Health Ministry has now asked all the State Governments and other Central Government departments to initiate similar move in all their buildings to protect public health.

Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan in her recent letter to all the State Government pointed out the health threats of tobacco, saying that its use is highly detrimental to health. It is a major risk factor for cancer, cardiovascular diseases (CVD, diabetes, chronic lung disease, stroke), infertility, blindness, tuberculosis (TB), oral cavity etc, she said. “Thus, in the interest of public health and with a view to keep the building clean, contributing towards the “Swachh Bharatt Swasth Bharat” campaign initiative was taken. As such smoking and spitting of tobacco in the premise of Nirman Bhawan is prohibited and is a punishable offence.

” In this regard, it would be appropriate that all government buildings/offices of your State/UT are made tobacco free in-order to protect public health,” said the Health Secretary to her counterparts in the States.

To protect non-users from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke, smoking in public place which includes all public offices, workplaces, canteen etc  has been banned as per Section 4 of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulations of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA),2003.