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Police to enforce smoking ban in public places

  •  The government has now become restless on the topic of smoking ban in public places. It has tried everything from pictorial warnings and advertisements before and during movies. But the plea has fallen on deaf ears. But from now on, if you smoke in public places, be ready to dish out 200 rupees as fine.

    As per the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003, smoking in public places is banned and those who violate the law will be slapped a fine of s. 200.

    "We will henceforth fine those who will smoke in public spaces in the national capital under COTPA because when you are smoking in a public space, you are not only endangering your own but even other people's lives," said Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), P Kamraj, who released the COTPA guideline booklet at an event in New Delhi today.

    Delhi Police collaborated with two city-based NGOs, Sambandh Health Foundation and Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV), to save the future generations of Delhi from ill-effects of tobacco. The campaign is supported by Max India Foundation.

    "Police can play a role in reversing this largest reversible cause of death and disease. Delhi Police will take strict action on COTPA-2003. Police force itself suffers from usage of tobacco. We will educate owners of public places such as educational institutes, malls, coffee shops, restaurants, bars and other organizations about the law. Penalties will be imposed as per the law where there is non-compliance. Police department is committed to enforcing COTPA and making the national capital a model city," Mr Kamraj said.

    Dr Harit Chaturvedi, VoTV patron and Chairman Max Oncology, said "I am seeing younger and younger patients coming to my OPD with tobacco-related cancers. Support from Delhi Police is commendable. Such initiatives are bound to bring the prevalence down".
    COTPA also prohibits all forms of advertising and promotion of tobacco products; the sale to or by minors and within 100 yards of educational institutes. It also requires pictorial warnings on every tobacco product and India has recently increased these to 85 per cent of pack area.
     

    OUR TAKE

    Let us take a look at some of the facts about smoking. Every year, tobacco takes the lives of 10 lakh Indians. In Delhi alone, there are 30 lakh tobacco users. 40 per cent of these will die untimely deaths. Nearly 10,000 deaths are due to tobacco consumption in Delhi every year. The India Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) - a school-based survey of students in grades 8, 9 and 10 conducted in 2009 - highlighted 14.6 per cent of students at present use any form of tobacco. One in five students live in homes where others smoke, one-fourth of the students have at least one parent who smokes. A recent WHO study showed that tobacco-related health-care costs exceed s. one lakh crore every year. 10 lakh tobacco-related deaths happen in India per year. We rest our case.


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