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Karnataka bans spitting of tobacco in public spaces | Bengaluru News

BENGALURU: In a move that gains significance amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Karnataka has banned consumption and spitting of tobacco products in public places. Announcing this ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Sunday, health minister B Sriramulu said violators will be punished under multiple IPC sections.
The ban, which has been implemented in 15 districts so far, will now be enforced across the state. “I appeal to everyone, especially youngsters, to stay away from tobacco products. Choose life,” said Sriramulu.
The decision has been welcomed by experts. According to Dr US Vishal Rao, oncologist and member of the High Power Committee on Tobacco Control, Karnataka, spitting produces droplets which can be infectious and spread coronavirus. “Spitting has been the bane of Indian society. We have been presented with a unique opportunity (due to Covid-19) to change this habit. The ban can induce behavioural and cultural change, resulting in transformative health benefits,” said Dr Rao.
He added those with noncommunicable diseases have been particularly hit by Covid-19, which has led to fatalities in many cases due to comorbidities. “Given the current situation, the government should not neglect non-communicable diseases, most of which are caused due to consumption of tobacco products. It should be seen as an opportunity to change habits and safeguard lives,” said Dr Rao.
Dr C Ramachandra, director, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, said smoking impairs lung function and Covid-19 primarily attacks the lungs. “Tobacco consumption is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases and respiratory ailments. Tobacco users are most vulnerable to complications if they contract Covid-19,” said Dr Ramachandra.
Violators will be booked under IPC sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 268 (public nuisance), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life).

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