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Thread: Chandigarh to become India's first smoke-free city

  1. Chandigarh to become India's first smoke-free city


    CHANDIGARH: As if the tag of being the country's greenest and cleanest city was not enough, Chandigarh is all set to add another feather to its cap - it will become the first smoke-free city in the country.

    The Chandigarh administration is working to get the city declared smoke free by July 1.

    The joint capital of Punjab and Haryana will have designated smoking areas at all public places and buildings to ensure that smoking is restricted and the general public is not forced to passively inhale smoke.

    "Besides protecting children, women and non-smokers from the harmful consequences of tobacco and smoking, such an initiative will improve the global image of Chandigarh and will be helpful in promoting business and tourism," said a senior government official.

    The idea to make the city a 'smoke-free' zone was first mooted by Burning Brain Society, a NGO that pounded the administration and Punjab and Haryana governments with 293 petitions under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, seeking the status of the implementation of a 2003 legislation banning smoking at public places.

    "In the 1980s and 90s, terrorists in Punjab had demanded a complete ban on smoking in the state and Chandigarh. They even terrorized people with bullets and guns to get the ban enforced but could not succeed. What they could not do through bullets, we have achieved through RTI petitions," Burning Brain Society chairman Hemant Goswami told.

    Various departments of the local administration are engaged in doing the groundwork to ensure the implementation of the smoke-free plan for the city.

    DNA - India - Chandigarh to become India's first smoke-free city - Daily News & Analysis



  2. #2

    Indian social activist wins International award on tobacco control


    Indian social activist wins International award on tobacco control
    as reported in Media Syndicate, Sep 20, 2008 Posted by burningbrain

    Hemant Goswami has been awarded the Extraordinary Award for his
    exceptional and outstanding commitment as a dedicated smoke-free and
    tobacco control activist to promote the implementation of the
    guidelines on Article 8 (smoke-free policies) of the Framework
    Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Hemant Goswami is credited with
    initiating the smoke-free movement in India and for making Chandigarh
    as the first smoke-free city not only in India but also the first one
    even in any third world country. A feat which everyone thought would
    be impossible to achieve in India.

    Social Activist Hemant Goswami has been selected for the prestigious
    international award called, the "Global Smokefree Partnership Award."
    The honour is awarded by "The Global Smokefree Partnership," a joint
    initiative of over twenty international organisations formed to
    promote effective smokefree air policies worldwide.

    The international award given by the international coalition is
    coordinated by "American Cancer Society" and includes reputed
    international organisations like; Cancer Research - UK, Global Tobacco
    Research Network, International Union Against Cancer, International
    Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Johnson and Johnson,
    Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Institute for Global Tobacco
    Control, Action on Smoking and Health - London, Campaign for
    Tobacco-Free Kids, Pfizer, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance,
    World Heart Federation and others.

    Hemant Goswami has been awarded the Extraordinary Award for his
    exceptional and outstanding commitment as a dedicated smoke-free and
    tobacco control activist to promote the implementation of the
    guidelines on Article 8 (smoke-free policies) of the Framework
    Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Hemant Goswami is credited with
    initiating the smoke-free movement in India and for making Chandigarh
    as the first smoke-free city not only in India but also the first one
    even in any third world country. A feat which everyone thought would
    be impossible to achieve in India.

    Four awardees were selected from across the world for the 2008 awards.
    Besides Goswami, the other three who have been selected for the awards
    are; the Government of Panama, Inter-American Heart Foundation of
    Mexico and Thailand's Minister of Health. The previous year's
    recipient of the award includes; President of Uruguay, Mr. Tabaré
    Vázquez; The Roswell Park Cancer Institute and The World Health
    Organization's Tobacco Free Initiative.

    Goswami shall be presented the award at the Society for Research on
    Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) conference in Bangkok, Thailand on
    Wednesday, October 29th 2008.

    ABOUT SMOKE-FREE CHANDIGARH INITIATIVE
    It took more than four years of sustained advocacy and efforts by
    Hemant Goswami, chairperson of Burning Brain Society to achieve the
    smoke-free status for Chandigarh. Right from building a momentum for
    tobacco control, to preparing a road map, and getting it executed was
    done through an aggressive and altogether a new form of activist
    approach. As an innovation, Hemant used the provisions of "Right to
    Information Act to make the non-responsive government machinery
    answerable.

    More than 300 "Right to Information (RTI)" petitions were filed by him
    over a period of one year. The RTI petitions sought detailed
    information from each government department on the implementation and
    enforcement of various provisions of tobacco control laws and in case
    they were not implemented, the name of the person responsible for
    neglecting his/her duty. In all there were more than eighteen related
    information requests/questions in the petition. This innovative
    approach was clubbed with other routine advocacy activities and a
    media strategy too. Within a year more than 1800 warning boards, as
    mandated under the tobacco control legislation were displayed in all
    government offices. Each and every educational institute too started
    complying with the law and Chandigarh became the first place anywhere
    in the world where all the educational institutes became hundred
    percent smoke-free.

    Once the initial compliance started and the momentum got built, Hemant
    started lobbying and selling the idea of smoke-free city to the
    administration. After sustained effort, the success came in.
    Chandigarh Police agreed to initiate the enforcement drive and
    requested Burning Brain Society to sensitize and train the policemen
    on the provisions of law. This was done immediately and from April
    2007, a sustained enforcement drive was initiated by the police.

    A comprehensive strategy helped to increase the compliance rate very
    fast. Within a month the compliance of the 2005 Cigarette and Other
    Tobacco Products Act reached over 70 percent. This gave confidence to
    the administration that the "Smoke-Free City" initiative proposed by
    Hemant was feasible. A series of meetings followed in which actions to
    be taken and strategies to be followed to have a sustainable and
    successful "Smoke-Free Chandigarh" initiative were decided. A series
    of notifications and government orders were promulgated. Finally on
    July 15, 2007, Chandigarh was declared a smoke-free city.

    The entire campaign had to work without any extraneous help from any
    agency. Hemant reveals that, "Smoke-Free Chandigarh" was not a part of
    any government or any funding agencies project and not a single paisa
    was received for the initiative. The whole initiative was carried out
    independently. Smoke-Free Chandigarh completed a successful one year
    on July 15, 2008. The project has been sustained for the first year
    without any support of the Union Government. Currently Hemant and his
    team are still fighting a lethargic and corrupt government machinery
    to further keep going the efforts. They are filing hundreds of
    individual complaints and many court cases not only to sustain the
    effort but also to stretch the smoke-free initiative limits to new
    levels.

    ABOUT HEMANT GOSWAMI
    Hemant Goswami is a hard-core activist working on the issues of
    "public health" and "civil rights." Besides being associated with many
    other organisations, Goswami also heads the NGO Burning Brain Society
    and Society for Prevention of Crime and Corruption.

    Goswami who is a direct descendant (great grand-son) of Swami Rama
    Tirtha, the 20th century spiritual guru, left his other professional
    work to devote his full time to social activism.

    His efforts on tobacco control are globally recognised and have
    resulted in big reverses for the tobacco industry. The legal action
    taken by him in 2005 forced one of the tobacco company drop the name
    of a cigarette brand from the bravery award it was giving for
    promoting its cigarettes. Another tobacco company was forced to
    withdraw stock of promotional greeting card worth crores from the
    market and remove the name of its cigarette brand from its greeting
    cards meant for sale to children. Goswami was also the lead
    investigator of the WHO study on "Tobacco in movies and its impact on
    youth," which proved that the tobacco industry was using movies as a
    vehicle to promote tobacco among youngsters. The initiation, success
    and sustenance of the first smoke-free Chandigarh is credited to the
    efforts of Hemant who despite all odds and the apathy of the
    Government machinery still pushed the smoke-free initiative in India.
    Currently Goswami is working on initiative to sustain the smoke-free
    Chandigarh initiative and also helping other States achieve smoke-free
    status. He is also working on a citizen's movement christened as
    "Mission Zero Tolerance" to fight corruption.

    Indian social activist wins International award on tobacco control - Free news releases

  3. #3

    Sparking the drive


    Sparking the drive
    by Rajesh C Sharma, Indian Exprss | Oct 02, 2008

    Hemant Goswami, chairperson of the Burning Brain Society — an NGO — was instrumental in getting Chandigarh residents to kick the butt, at least in public places. And to stub out the cigarette, he used RTI.

    Goswami, who claims to be the great grandson of Swami Ram Tirath, filed around 300 RTI applications with various Government departments to know what they were doing to implement provisions of a 2003 legislation. One day, he confronted Chandigarh Administrator O P Verma when he was going to attend a bravery awards function associated with a cigarette brand. He also filed a writ in the High Court, making the governors of Punjab and Haryana and the Chandigarh Administrator a party. That’s what he calls the first hardcore sensitisation of officers at a high level. All this before 2006.

    When around 1,800 signboards, against the use of tobacco, came up across the city in 2006, the idea of making Chandigarh a smoke-free city took root. With a Master’s in marketing management, Goswami met officials in the Union Health Ministry and UT Administration and convinced them that it was doable.

    After July 15, 2007 when Chandigarh was officially declared smoke-free, Goswami went out with his team, spotting violators. Then he filed 200 complaints against them.

    Goswami, who has tried a puff or two during his college days, hopes the campaign will be successful. “We have seen highs and lows. But from now onwards the drive can only get better,” he says, hinting at the October 2 deadline.
    “It’s an accident that tobacco is a legal drug. It’s 10 times more dangerous than heroin,” he says. “I’ll keep fighting till tobacco becomes illegal.”

    Sparking the drive

    Also see this Post
    http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/7761-b...html#post26032
    Last edited by sidmis; 02-10-08 at 09:09 AM.



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