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Restaurants voluntarily turn 100 per cent ‘Smoke-free’, attract more family customers

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BANGALORE, NOVEMBER 7, 2020: ‘Kaara: By the Lake’ a cafe located at Ulsoor recently “completely stopped” allowing smoking in their premises and since then the restaurant has been witnessing more footfalls of families. More and more restaurants are removing smoking areas from their premises to boost their business.

“Going 100 per cent smoke-free is resulting in good health of customers, staff and increased business,” says Ms Radha Nair, Owner of Kaara. “Family customers prefer to dine-in at places which do not allow smoking. Children, women and senior citizens feel uneasy when exposed to tobacco smoke. We felt that we could use the ‘smoking zone’ to allow more customers rather than wasting this space for an activity unhealthy for our customers and staff.”

Encouraged by their booming business, Kaara’s owner added, “We are hopeful more cafés and restaurants would go 100 per cent smoke-free to boost their business.”

On National Cancer Awareness Day observed on November 7, it should be noted that based on current trends, cancer cases are likely to go up to 15.7 lakhs by 2025 from 13.9 lakhs in 2020, as per the recent National Cancer Registry Programme Report 2020, released by The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research, Bengaluru recently. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey – 2 (GATS-2), 14 per cent of adults were exposed to second-hand smoke at restaurants in Karnataka. Bengaluru city has more than 20,000 restaurants and employs more than 3 lakh people in all.

The restaurants which were allowing smoking cigarettes, cigar, beedi, cheroot, hookah in their premises either by setting up a Designated Smoking Area (DSA) or without DSA have decided to do away with it and have become 100 per cent ‘smoke-free’. This change in the mindset of the establishment owners’ is that they want more family customers to dine-in and do not want to compromise with the health of the employees at the establishment, who were otherwise exposed to ‘secondhand-smoke’ making them more prone to cancer and related disorders. They are also saving the money spent to maintain the DSA or clean the ‘smoking area’.

Ms Wilma Rodrigues, CEO of Sahaas Zero Waste, a Bengaluru-based waste management company and a mother said “Children and adults should not be harmed by involuntary tobacco smoke. While dining out with family, the first thing I prefer more than the ambience, taste, service etc is that the restaurant should be smoke-free. All those restaurants which are voluntarily becoming 100 per cent smoke-free should be encouraged.”

“Second-hand smoking is as harmful as smoking. Smoke from tobacco products contains harmful chemicals which can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. It can lead to coronary heart disease, stroke and several cancers,” said renowned oncologist and Member of High Power Committee, Govt of Karnataka, Dr Vishal Rao.

“It is admirable to see restaurants are becoming 100 per cent smoke-free and profiting out of it. This is a win-win for customers as well as the owners. It is high time that other restaurants and cafés take cue and follow the path” he added.

As per rule, restaurants with more than 30 seats can create a DSA with automated doors and exhaust fans after getting no-objection certificate from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Also, there shall be no services provided at these DSA including the supply of food, water, alcohol, tobacco products, beverages etc. But they do not follow the laid down procedures, Dr Vishal Rao said. He urged the hotel and restaurant associations to do away with the DSAs.

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