Kochi: Ernakulam is all set to become the first smoking-free tourist destination in the country. In the wake of the success of the anti-tobacco measures taken by the Ernakulam district administration, the Kochi Corporation and the district panchayat, steps have been taken to declare Ernakulam as the first smoking-free tourist destination in India.
District Collector Sheik Pareeth said that Excise Minister K Babu would make the declaration of smoking-free Ernakulam at a function to be held at Marine Drive at 2.30 pm on Saturday. Hibi Eden MLA will preside over the function.
"The decision was taken based on the success of the anti-tobacco initiatives undertaken in the city," the District Collector said.
The Collector said that as per the independent observation study conducted on smoking in public places, it was found that there was no active smoking in nearly 95 per cent of public places.
"In the public places prominent warning signs against public smoking and their rights to smoke free air are put on," he said.
The District Collector said the study had also found that the majority of bars, cinema halls and restaurants were also free of tobacco smoke. Training to police inspectors, panchayat secretaries, health inspectors in the Health Department and the corporation has been completed.
"The resident associations and other civil society organisations had also extended their support in the venture," the Collector said. He added that such a declaration will be of great help as it would bring about more public participation.
Anti-tobacco Campaign coordinator Saju V Itty said, "The first phase of the project aimed at controlling smoking in public places has been successfully achieved," he said.
A high-level committee has been formed to evaluate the current programme and to enunciate various other new measures. The anti-tobacco campaign has successfully brought about many programmes to create awareness among all the officials in the police and other law-enforcing authorities.
City Express had earlier reported on the ineffectiveness of the anti-tobacco campaign in the district.
The collector had promised to take all possible steps to implement the measures to control the use of tobacco.