Kerala cracks whip against smoking in public places

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 27 (IANS) There has been an over 85 percent jump in action taken against those who indulge in smoking at public places, according to the figures released by Kerala Police.

“A total of 47,282 people were fined during the July-September quarter this year for violating the no-public smoking provision of the Indian tobacco control law COTPA, 2003,” stated the police report.

Some 25,529 people were fined during the same duration last year, showing an over 85 percent jump in the action taken.

This is a record-high number ever since Kerala Police started an online system for reporting violations under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

Police chief T.P. Senkumar saidKerala Police take very seriously their commitment of safeguarding the health of the people.

“We realise the dangerous impact of second-hand smoking and do not want our non-smoking population to suffer silently in public places. Action against COTPA violations are reviewed every month in the crime review meetings,” said Senkumar.

The number of people fined went up exponentially at many places. For instance, in Malappuram the number of persons fined increased from 52 during last July-September quarter to 5,726 in the same period this year. Palakkad witnessed an over nine-fold increase from 503 to 4,619.

Section 4 of the COTPA Act, 2003, prohibits smoking in public places, including bus stands, cinema halls, restaurants, hotels, pubs, and bars.

It also mandates setting up of 60 x 30 cm signages in white, black and red colours. Violations, including public smoking and absence of requisite signages, can be fined up to Rs.200 on the spot.

According to the figures of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) of the union ministry of health and family welfare and the World Health Organization (WHO), 30 percent of men and 8.5 percent of women are exposed to second-hand smoking in public places.


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