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Ban Smoking at campus order to IT companies by Govt

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If you work for the IT sector and tend to frequently step out for a quick smoke, better take note. Karnataka’s IT, BT and ITeS companies have been told to comply with the law prohibiting smoking in public spaces.

Last week, the department of information technology, biotechnology and science and technology sent a circular to five associations representing the IT industry in the state. The move follows a recent consultation between the Public Health Institute and the department. The circular has been sent to India Electronics and Semiconductor Association, Animation, Visual Effects, Games and Comics (ABAI), Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises, The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) and the Manufacturing IT (MAIT) that deals with hardware, training, R&D and hardware design.

As per Section 4 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COTPA), smoking is banned in all public places in India to protect passive smokers.

IT is an important sector in Karnataka with thousands of companies and lakhs of workers who may be vulnerable to passive smoking. Hence, it’s important to comply with Section 4 of COTPA and prohibit smoking on campuses. This would also persuade smokers to quit and adopt healthier lifestyles while protecting passive smokers,” reads the circular sent to the association by IT-BT principal secretary V Manjula. It also suggests companies take up tobacco-control initiatives in their CSR budget to help make workplaces healthier.

Speaking to TOI, Manula said implementation of the ban is necessary in the IT industry, employer of the largest workforce in the state. “Just a circular may not be able to change an individual’s choice. But they are educated people and aware of public health. Even if they don’t quit, they should be conscious of where not to smoke,” she said.

Said Dr Vishal Rao, an oncologist and consultant with Public Health Institute which has spearheaded the implementation COTPA: “A significant number of youngsters get addicted to smoking to overcome work pressure and stress. Smoking has been a concern in IT industries and needs to be addressed.”

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