Fresh puff on JU smoke ban

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 27.10.09
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Jadavpur University is making another attempt to enforce the three-year-old smoking ban on campus.

On Monday morning, students, teachers and staff members were greeted by “No Smoking” signs in every landing and corridor of the more than 30 academic and administrative buildings on the campus.

“We noticed the signs today. This makes the ban more official I think,” said an undergraduate student of the arts department.

In October 2006, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had sent a circular to all affiliated institutions instructing them to implement the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

The act, which came into effect on May 1, 2004, prohibits sale of tobacco products within 100 yards (91.44m) of educational institutions.

“We decided at a recent executive council meeting that we would take proactive steps to intensify the ban on the campus,” said Siddhartha Dutta, the pro-vice chancellor of the university.

In the absence of penal measures, the ban has remained on paper across the city with cigarettes being sold in canteens and from stalls on and around campuses.

In 2006, the JU authorities had designated the academic buildings, libraries, workshops, laboratories and some other areas “no-smoking zones” and banned the sale of cigarettes on the campus in a bid to impose the UGC ban in “phases”.

The authorities are now attempting a blanket ban on the university’s campuses in Jadavpur and Salt Lake.

“We noticed that smoking has started again in academic buildings and realised the need to create more awareness,” said Dutta.

The university authorities are also planning another drive to make sure that cigarettes are not sold on the premises.

Students are sceptical about the success of the drive. “Most professors smoke in the staff room or in the corridors even after the UGC and the government ban. I don’t think the drive will have an effect on the campus,” said an undergraduate arts student who was smoking in a corridor of an academic building.