Major Kerala hotels to be completely smoke-free

Smoke-free zones to protect employees & customers from the dangers of passive smoking.

Thiruvananthapuram: Major hotels and restaurants in Kerala have decided to make their premises smoke-free zones with an aim to protect employees and customers from the dangers of passive smoking.

Various associations in the sector including Kerala Hotels and Restaurants Association (KHRA), South India Hotels and Restaurants Association (SIHRA) and South Kerala Hoteliers Forum (SKHF) joined hands in this regard in a recent meeting, a release said on Friday.

As part of the plan, mandated signages will be put up in hotels and restaurants and customers and employees will be prevented from smoking on their premises, it said.

"Tobacco smoke with over 250 harmful chemicals has been proven to cause lung cancers, heart attacks and stroke besides severe asthma and other respiratory illnesses in children," G Sudhiesh Kumar, State President of the KHRA, said.

As per the country’s tobacco control legislation enacted in 2003– COTPA– hotels, restaurants, coffee bars, pubs and bars fall under the ambit of public places, he said.

"The hotel industry, which has taken a lead in many aspects of social welfare, will also demonstrate our commitment to public health by ensuring tobacco smoke free member institutions," said D Chandrasenan Nair, a veteran leader of the hotel industry.

Designated smoking areas that meet specified architectural guidelines are permitted in hotels with 30 rooms or more and in restaurants, coffee houses, pubs, and bars with seating capacity of 30 or more persons.

However, the World Health Organisation has stated that there is "no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke" and creating 100 per cent smoke-free environments is the only way to protect people from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.

As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2009 of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the highest- 9.2 per cent- of adults above 15 years, were exposed to second-hand smoking in restaurants,it added.

( Source : PTI )
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