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Ernakulam Declared as 'First Smoke-Free Tourist Destination'

by Madhav Srinivasan 4 year, 11 months ago

Ernakulam is one of the cleanest and best cities in India and now comes with the tag of being the first smoke free destinations. Here’s a peek view of how the law was implemented and what its implications are.

The Indian government has been trying hard to administer the 'No-Smoking' rule in its tourist destinations in the recent past. Success, however, checked in this Sunday morning when Kerala's trade hub Ernakulam was named India's first smoke-free tourist destination. So plan a visit to Ernakumal by taking up Kerala tour packages.

During a function held at Marine Drive on Sunday, State Excise Minister K Babu felicitated the city for being the first smoke-free zone amongst all the tourist spots in India.


The celebration that marked a successful implementation of the Indian Tobacco Control Act for the first time in many years was inaugurated by Excise Minister K. Babu. Smiling all the way through the occasion, District Panchayat president Eldhose Kunnappillil expressed his contentment by releasing ‘smoke-free Ernakulam’ balloons. 

The Tobacco Free School Force performed a passing out parade while Mayor Tony Chammany took over the responsibility to call the signals of the parade.


Bringing the Rule to Effect

In a press conference held in Ernakulam on Friday, an overwhelmed District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareed told the gathered media persons that the credit for this achievement goes to the collective efforts of the district administration, the district panchayat and the health department to eradicate smoking from all the public places in Ernakulam. This was an outcome of the 18-month long 'Smoke-Free’ Ernakulam project initiated by the health department, district panchayat, Cochin corporation and district administration. Ernakulam is a popular city included in most of South India tours.

The aim of this project was strict implementation of the Indian Tobacco Control Act and complete eradication of public smoking. Various civil society groups, including Vyapari Vyavasayi Association, Resident’s associations, Hotel and Bar Association and Hotel and Restaurant Association, also showed their consent in promotion of this noble cause.


The project took-off as the administration displayed warning signs and hoardings against public smoking in prominent public hubs. The hoardings also had messages that talked about the people’s right to smoke-free air. 

The second phase was the training phase where all the health inspectors from the Health Department, police inspectors and panchayat secretaries were trained on how to deal with smokers in public place and how to spread the message of 'no-smoking' amongst the masses. As a result of these endeavors, as a public survey reported, nearly 95% of public places, including restaurants and movie halls, were found to be free from active smoking.

Being the First Smoke Free Destination in India

Ernakulam is one of the most popular tourist cities in Kerala. The city is home to various heritage destinations that were built during the era of local kings, English, Dutch and Portuguese. It got the honor of being the first smoke-free tourist spot in the entire country, which is 12 years after the first ever smoking ban was administered in Kerala.

The ban came as an answer to the petition filed by Monamma Kokkad, a house wife who knocked the doors of the court after being exposed to averse smoking everyday while she commuted between Kottayam and Cochin.


Initially, in order to implement the ban, Kerala police started booking people at railway stations and bus stops. Anyone who was found smoking was penalized with a fine that ranged between Rs. 200 and Rs. 500, but this could continue only for a few months.

Kottayam, however, did not take the smoking ban lightly, and it was strictly implemented in all 75 villages

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