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Delhi Police to fine those found smoking in public places

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Want to light a cigarette at a public place, think twice. Delhi Police has decided to strictly enforce a fine of Rs 200 on smoking in public places.

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 Rs 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 here 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 organisations 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," 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".

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, said Chaturvedi.

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.

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. Since there is no safe level of tobacco usage, consumer safety from tobacco products is best served by preventing its usage altogether.

As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2010), 27.5 crore Indians consume tobacco in one form or another - it is one of the largest consumer markets.

Tobacco is the major cause of cancer and cardio vascular diseases and respiratory diseases. A recent WHO study showed that tobacco-related health-care costs exceed Rs one lakh crore every year. 10 lakh tobacco-related deaths happen in India per year.

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First Published: Sat, May 28 2016. 18:13 IST