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It’s been nearly five years since India banned smoking in public places, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to Sugandha. The jeans-clad woman in her twenties is standing at a subway entrance in New Delhi as a man smokes a cigarette a few steps away, indifferent to how the fumes annoy passersby.
“We can’t say anything to anyone,” she said. “They won’t take it positively.”
That’s the state of things as the annual No Tobacco Day rolls around on May 31. In a country where efforts to ban people from spitting and urinating in public have met with little success, people still openly flout restrictions on smoking.
Khushbu, Sugandha’s bespectacled friend, said smokers are a nuisance. She aims stern, disapproving looks at them to shoo them away.