The city of Bengaluru has been presented with the 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Alliance for Tobacco Control and NCDs Prevention ‘APCAT AWARD 2019’ for its outstanding leadership in increasing local compliance with state smoke-free laws.
The award was announced on 26thSeptember 2019 at the 4thAPCAT Summit held at Bogor, Indonesia.
Bengaluru is part of the Partnership for Healthy Cities, a global network of cities committed to reducing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries. The Partnership, announced in May 2017, is led by World Health Organization (WHO) Global Ambassador for NCDs and Injuries and former New York City Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg. Is it supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with WHO and Vital Strategies.
The city of Bengaluru has been working with Partnership for Healthy Cities support to strengthen the implementation of smoke-free laws with a special focus on secondhand smoke. The project, called Smoke-Free Bengaluru, launched in October 2017 with the aim of helping protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of passive smoking, which include increased risks for NCDs such as cancer and heart disease.
Smoke-Free Bengaluru activities have included billboard and online media campaigns about the risks of secondhand smoke—and repeated enforcement drives. The result has been a marked increase in compliance with the law, with a reduction in “partial” compliance and non-compliance by 8 and 13 percentage points respectively.
Receiving this award on behalf of Smoke-Free Bengaluru, Project Director Dr. Thriveni B.S. said, “It is a proud moment for all Bengalureans and a worthy recognition for all the hard work the city administration has put into protecting citizens from the harms of secondhand smoke. We know secondhand smoke is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and other NCDs.”
Dr Savitha S K, Program Head of the tobacco control program in Bengaluru’s municipal corporation, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) commented on the continued severity of the problem. He said, “A recent Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) showed that exposure to tobacco smoke by non-smokers is 23.9% at public places and 14% of this exposure happensat eateries, hotels, bars and restaurant. Yet the evidence is clear that secondhand smoke is as harmful as smoking. This award will motivate and encourage all implementing officers to keep up the good work and enforce the smoke-free laws effectively.”