Smokers across the country are expected to face curbs on their habits as the government is planning to set up a regulatory authority for effective implementation of anti-tobacco laws.
Despite a ban on smoking in public places, people are seen puffing away at restaurants, hotels and theatres raising serious health concerns.
The Health Ministry is setting up a National Tobacco Regulatory Body under the 11th five year plan to enforce the anti-tobacco Act strictly.
“It will be an independent body and will coordinate between states and the industry,” Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said.
He said a stringent enforcement of the Act was necessary because 40 per cent of the country’s health problem was due to tobacco.
“We want people to smoke in their homes and only when their spouses allow it,” he said at the first-ever Journalist ‘Boot Camp’ on India’s growing threat — Cancer and Tobacco yesterday, organised by the American Cancer Society and the US Centres for Disease Control Foundation.
“Bhutan is the only nation where no tobacco products are found. We want to make India tobacco free,” Ramadoss said.
He said a survey showed in the Bollywood movies of the 1950s, fifty per cent of heroes smoked, which grew to 71 per cent in the 1990s and 86 per cent currently.
“The heroes are smoking and not the villains,” he said.