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Mumbai cabbies say no to tobacco

Tuesday May 31, 2011 06:23:59 PM, IANS

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Mumbai: More than 50,000 taxi drivers here lent their support to the 'Smoke Free Mumbai' campaign on World No Tobacco Day Tuesday and pledged to ensure that neither they nor their passengers would smoke in cabs.

"Mumbai now joins several cities in the world like New York that protect the health of their taxi drivers and of passengers, especially children who are in no position to object from exposure to second-hand smoke," said Prakash Gupta, president of the Action Council against Tobacco, India.

Quoting a recent survey held among the taxi drivers, Gupta said that in spite of the fact that nearly 80 percent taxi drivers are non-smokers, almost all were being exposed to second-hand smoke from the passengers.

"SFM is working towards reducing and completely eliminating this involuntary and highly risky exposure of taxi drivers during their job hours," he said.

According to the survey by SFM, 79 percent taxi drivers are exposed to second-hand smoke daily, and 96 percent felt that a law banning smoking in taxis is useful.

Only 14 percent had 'No Smoking' stickers in their taxis.

The taxi drivers also pledged to display stickers informing passengers about anti-smoking laws and fines in English, Marathi and Hindi.

The move was also supported by city-based Kalpataru Hospitality Facility Management (KHFM) - a corporate hygiene and facility management organisation, which banned its 5,000 employees from consuming tobacco at work place on World No Tobacco Day.

"The move to ban tobacco at work serves the dual purpose of safeguarding health and projecting a responsible image of a serving unit," the company's managing director R.M. Hegde said.

Thane-based realty firm Soham World also banned its employees from consuming tobacco at the workplace.

According to company spokesperson Manoj Asrani, the anti-tobacco drive should be taken up on an aggressive note by other companies as well.





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