The Capital Hospital administration has finally woken up to implement the Union government’s rules banning smoking on the medical facility’s premises and decided to declare the area a “tobacco-free zone” from November.
The hospital administration has put up signage on the premises that read:
A fine of Rs 50 will be collected from individuals chewing or spitting tobacco, pan and smoking inside hospital premises.
The hospital director said they had put up signage all over the hospital to let the people know about the upcoming move.
“The signage has been put up as a warning to the offenders. We have already printed the receipt books and our security staff members will be put in place to penalize the violators,” Pattnaik said.
Late Enforcement of Tobacco Prohibition Act
Asked why the hospital decided to enforce the rule 13 years after the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, came into force, Capital Hospital director Biswa Bhusan Pattnaik said:
I joined the institution last year, and since then, I have tried to enforce the rules in the hospital.
He refused to comment on what previous directors of the hospital had done to implement the act. The act prohibits smoking in public places, including hospitals, and according to the rules, the violators could be penalized with a fine of up to Rs 200.
A hospital employee said that although it was uncommon to find people smoking on the hospital premises in the daytime, it was a common sight even inside wards and corridors of the state-run premier health care institution after nightfall. On the other hand, patients and their attendants said spitting after chewing tobacco was rampant inside the hospital wards and corridors.
With the new move coming into force from November 1, smoking or chewing tobacco on the hospital premises will invite a fine of Rs 50.
The Capital Hospital is the second public health care institution in the city after the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to declare its premises tobacco-free. AIIMS had declared its premises tobacco free in 2014 and collects a fine of Rs 100 from the violators. AIIMS Bhubaneswar had started operating in the city from 2012.
A senior AIIMS administrator said they had declared the premises free from tobacco use in July 2014 and were collecting fines from the violators.
“We have sensitised people, and it is now very rare to spot one violating the norms on the hospital premises,” said the administrator.
However, the Municipal Hospital at Old Town, the other public health care institution in the city, is yet to implement no-tobacco rules.
Asked whether the hospital has any such plans, a senior hospital official said it was in the hands of the BMC to make the move.
“We will put the proposal before the civic body in the forthcoming council meeting,” the official said.
Courtesy: The Telegraph