Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss on Tuesday launched a media campaign against passive smoking as part of efforts to increase awareness about rules banning smoking in public nationwide from Oct 2.
"We wholeheartedly welcome the Supreme Court judgement that the health ministry can implement the (rules)," said Ramadoss announcing the start of the campaign at a press conference.
The new Smoking in Public Places Rules 2008 was notified this month.
"The new rules will cover private buildings and establishments as well. It is for both to discourage smokers and for employees working at these places. Employees working anywhere in country have a right to have a smoke free atmosphere," Ramadoss added.
The minister said he had written to chief ministers of all states, state governments, health ministers and MPs to help enforce the ban on smoking.
Asked about some state governments' stated inability to enforce such a sweeping ban, he said: "We are sorting out these issues, and we will make them enforce these rules."
Ramadoss further appealed to the public to respect the law.
The government would launch Oct 2 a web site, www.secondhandsmokekills.in, to create awareness about second hand smoking.
The Supreme Court Monday upheld the government ban on smoking in public places from Oct 2. The court order came on a plea by the government seeking transfer from high courts various lawsuits challenging the ban.
Sandra Mullin, senior vice president of World Lung Foundation, said: "This is truly historic. India is taking steps to halt the epidemic. These rules are going to contribute a lot."