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Polling stations in Assam declared smoke-free zones

GUWAHATI: The state chief electoral officer has issued a directive to make Assam's polling stations no-smoking zones so that voters are able to cast their votes in a smoke-free environment. Assam is the third state after Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar where the state CEOs have issued similar directives.

Assam CEO Vijayendra issued the directive on April 2 and made it public on Thursday. The decision is seen by many as a means to create awareness among first-time voters. On April 1, the Voluntary Health Association of Assam had appealed to the state CEO to ensure polling stations be made smoke-free.

The CEO has asked deputy commissioners and sub-divisional officers of all districts to take appropriate measures in this regard.

"It is a strong step that will ensure 100 per cent awareness about the dangers of first-hand and second-hand smoking. During the poll process, the directive has a lot of scope to continue the fight against smoking and tobacco consumption. The step will also create awareness among young first-time voters about the harmful affects of smoking," said Srabana Misra, preventive oncologist at B Borooah Cancer Institute.

The directive mentions that as polling booths are public places, the order is in sync with Section 4 of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003. The act states that smoking is prohibited in all public places. Section 4 also states that a mandatory display signage must be posted in public places.

Source:  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/Polling-stations-in-Assam-declared-smoke-free-zones/articleshow/33225365.cms