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EC prohibits tobacco use in polling booths during 2019 Lok Sabha elections

In a first, the Election Commission of India has banned all kinds of tobacco in polling booths during the general elections in 2019. The move is aimed at effectively implementing tobacco control laws across the nation.

Dec 27, 2018 10:33 IST
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The Election Commission of India (ECI), for the first time, has banned all kinds of tobacco in polling booths during the general elections in 2019. The move is aimed at effectively implementing tobacco control laws across the nation.

The Commission has asked all states and UTs to issue instructions to all the district electoral officers-cum-district magistrates to ensure prohibition of not just smoking but also the use of chewable tobacco in all polling booths in the country.

Key Highlights

According to the guidelines issued by the Election Commission, all polling booths in the country are to be declared tobacco-free and not just smoke-free.

Hence, the use of bidi, cigarette, gutkha, scented or flavoured chewable tobacco will be prohibited. Each polling booth will be required to have a banner put up, stating the same.

The presiding officer of each polling booth will be nominated as the nodal officer for ensuring tobacco-free status at their booths.

All district tobacco control cells will supervise and monitor this campaign to sensitise people on ill effects of tobacco.

Background

The move comes after the Delhi government's Health Department urged the Election Commission to declare all polling stations as tobacco-free zones rather than just declaring them as smoke-free, as it used to be in previous elections.

In a letter written to the Election panel by the additional director (Health) Dr. SK Arora, it was stated that tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease, disability and premature death and major threat to the present and future health of any population.

"On election day, a majority of the adult population is likely to visit polling booth to cast its vote. This will be an excellent opportunity to sensitise among majority adult population on a single day through displayed multi-colour banners with the message on ill-effects of tobacco at the polling booths," the letter further read.

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