Ban smoking in polling centres in Assam: NGO

Guwahati, April 2: A leading non-profit organisation working in the field of public health has requested poll officials in Assam to prohibit smoking in all polling booths in the state during the three-phased polls starting April 7.

The chief electoral officers (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar have already issued directives to ensure that all polling centres in their states are declared smoke-free.

“We have met the CEO Assam over the issue and he has assured to look into the matter and try and do something positive in this direction. The CEO said a decision could be expected after his discussion with the Election Commission,” said a spokesman of the Voluntary Health Association of Assam (VHAA).

Assam has one of the highest incidences of cancer related to tobacco use.

“According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey carried out in 2010, 52.6 percent of males and 25.3 percent of females in Assam use tobacco in some form or the other. The prevalence of tobacco users in terms of urban and rural population is 40.6 and 39.1 percent respectively, which is way above the national prevalence rate,” he said.