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CEO Declares Election Booths Smoke-Free: J&K Among First States/UTs with Such Order

 CEO Declares Election Booths Smoke-Free: J&K Among First States/UTs with Such Order

Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Apr 17 (KNO): In a significant move aimed at safeguarding public health and enhancing the voter experience, the Chief Election Officer of Jammu and Kashmir has declared all polling stations across the union territory as tobacco-free zones.

This decision follows a directive from the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir, urging the Chief Election Office to ensure smoke-free environments in polling stations. The move aligns with the Government of India's regulations and the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC), emphasizing protection from second-hand smoke exposure.

"All public places, including election booths, are to be declared smoke-free in accordance with the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA-2003) and the subsequent rules implemented since October 2, 2008," read the communication from the Chief Election Officer to all district election officers.

Notably, Jammu and Kashmir is among the first states/UTs where such an order has been issued, mirroring a similar directive in Tripura.

Dr. Mir Mushtaq, Nodal Officer NTCP, commended the Election Commission for this progressive step, emphasizing its long-term impact on tobacco control efforts. He highlighted the multifaceted benefits of declaring polling booths tobacco-free, ranging from safeguarding public health to promoting smoking cessation and ensuring a healthier environment for voters.

"By implementing these measures, authorities demonstrate their commitment to creating healthier environments and promoting well-being for all," Dr. Mushtaq added, underscoring the importance of collaborative efforts between the Election Commission, Health Department, and other stakeholders in advancing public health initiatives—(KNO)

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