Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Banning Smoking in Railways in India” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Banning Smoking in Railways in India” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Banning Smoking in Railways in India

 

“Cigarette smoking is injurious to health”—every packet of cigarettes carries this warning. Scientists have proved that smoking a cigarette shortens the smoker’s life by 51/2 minutes. Yet very few are able to kick up this habit, which has lately come in for widespread criticism and legislation not only in India but in most of the western world as well.

Like cannabis, hooch, opium and other intoxicants, smoking is addictive. Tobacco harms a person’s health in many ways. Cigarettes, cigars, bidis, etc., are all stuffed with tobacco. Those who smoke a pipe directly smoke tobacco, however, refined it may be. Lately, women in developing countries have also taken to smoking in a big way and special low-nicotine and low-tar cigarettes are being manufactured for smoking by women. Smoking has already been banned in the offices of the United Nations, most developed countries, multinationals, cinemas and theaters, aircrafts, buses, healthcare facilities and several other places of public congregation. In India, the capital city of Delhi has taken the lead in banning smoking in public places. Kerala has followed suit by enacting suitable legislation in this regard.

According to the American Cancer Society, smoking one cigar a day appears to increase the risk of death from coronary heart disease by 30 per cent in person’s upto the age of 75 years. Today about 45 per cent of Indian adults are addicted to smoking. Smoking is merely treated as a normal activity and with some people it has become a part of their life-style. Smoking costly brands of cigarettes in public places is considered a status symbol. Wherever one goes, one will find people smoking freely and liberally. Whether it is a bank or a bus stop, airport or railway station or aerodrome, market place or residential area, public park or cinema, the large bulk of the people will be found smoking some one brand or the other of the cigarettes, cigars, or even the lowly beedi. Most of these smokers are very well aware of the inherent dangers of cigarette smoking on their health. But still they find it impossible to resist the temptation of lighting a cigarette, inhale it for a while and then release a cloud of tobacco smoke vitiating the atmosphere around them. And they do it with a sense of pride. It is a funny right to see people consuming a slow poison and flaunting it in public to impress the on-bookers.

The worst part of smoking is that it not only acts as a slow poison for the smokers, but also does much serious harm to the health of the non-smokers who happen to be around and have no means to protect themselves against the evil consequences of passive smoking. This amounts to a gross abuse of the personal freedom to smoke on the part of the habitual smokers who happen to be in close proximity with the smokers who cannot overcome their smoking habit. Truly speaking, passive smoking, i.e., inhaling the cigarette smoke released by smokers, by the non-smokers in an office, waiting hall, bus, railway compartment, airport lounge or the like is much more dangerous than active smoking. On paper at least smoking in the railways was even previously banned on Indian Railways, and a notice to this effect was invariably painted at a prominent place in all compartments. But since the harmful effects of smoking on the lives of active and passive smoking were not fully understood or appreciated, the relevant rule was observed by the smokers more in its breach than its observance. But now that the harmful consequences of smoking have been realized worldwide and even advanced Western countries are taking stern measures to stop the evil practice of smoking in public places, government of India should wake up to the gravity of the situation and strictly ban smoking in railways in India.

Indian Railways have since grown into Asia’s largest and the world’s second largest railway system in the world. Also it is the world’s cheapest transport system, costing an average passenger as little as 9 paise per km. Yet in India generally and on railways in particular, smoking habit is growing as an epidemic. The senior smokers encourage the youngsters to smoke by offering them a free puff to have a taste of it. It being so, the practice of painting statutory and other warnings saying “No smoking please”, “Danger-smoking prohibited area”,  etc., can hardly have any effect. Banning smoking in railway compartments will atleast make the areas under railway administration free from tobacco related pollution?

Indian Railways have a length of about 62,000 kms and employ 1.6 million employees and have an annual budget of Rs. 30,000 crore. Over 1,300 trains carrying about 4,400 million passengers and 430 million tones of goods every year run through the length and breadth of the country. Banning smoking in Indian Railways means banning all types of smoking in such a nationwide organization having direct influence on the lives of millions of people. The ban should be operative on platforms, waiting rooms, shops in Railway notified areas, booking offices, and all the compartments of the railway trains. India is a rich country inhabited by the poor people. The poor use low quality, cheap varieties of beedies and cigarettes, which have a high nicotine content, which is deadly in its harmful effects. The great volume of cigarette, beedi and hukka smoke poisons the atmosphere exposing all smokers and non-smokers to dangerous and killer diseases. In closed buildings, vehicles, railway compartments and public places it plays havoc with the lives of the people. The total ban on use of tobacco and tobacco products on Indian Railways is, therefore, fully justified.

Civic conscience and awareness is given the go-by in the railway operations in India. Looking at the scale of railway operations in India and the millions of passengers that travel by the Indian Railways every day, it is imperative that the railways ban smoking forthwith. Adequate legislation must be passed with severe penalties for those violating this ban on smoking in the railways if the Government has any regard for the passengers’ health and safety. For it is often reported that a lighted match-stick or burning cigarette or bidi butt causes fire in the railway compartments resulting in loss of life and property due to negligence of the smokers.

Passengers must be made aware of their responsibilities towards their co-travellers. They are not expected to behave in a manner that is hurtful or obnoxious to others. Smoking in public violates the rights of others, who may not be amendable to it but are hesitant to ask the smokers not to do so.

There will be opposition to such a move from various interested quarters. A case in point is the decision of the Kerala High Court banning smoking in public places. The administration was prompt in booking those who violated this law. The womenfolk heaved a sigh of relief, but this ban seems to be vanishing in smoke—as was the earlier case with Delhi where legislation against smoking was not enforced effectively. What is lacking here is the political will even though everyone knows that smoking in public is a nuisance. Nicotine has a terrible assimilative power to get into the bloodstream through the process of oxidation, thus leading to silent and gradual death of the smoker. Smoking by pregnant women is likely to lead to deformity in the new-born or other infirmity to the foetus.

Smoking in public utility services like the railways must be totally banned. Smoking on the railways cannot be in treated as just another pretext for exercising their freedom by the smokers. It causes discomfort and leads to health hazards among their co-passengers. The State’s paramount duty is to safeguard the health of all citizens. Therefore, smoking in public places, especially in Indian Railways, must be treated as an offence against the State. The Government must enact legislation to ban smoking in railways in India immediately.

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