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A puff in the air can be heavy on your pockets; Delhiites beware!

Posted: Apr 20, 2018     By Praveen Dwivedi

In a bid to discourage smoking in public places, selling tobacco products within hundred yards of schools or colleges and put an end to various other violations, Delhi police has fined nearly 16,000 people in three districts of South Delhi.

These fines have been levied during the drive launched against smokers and tobacco consumers under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA). As per the Delhi police, around 6000 people were issued challans in South East district, 4600 in North District and 4500 in South district in the last six months as part of the COPTA enforcement.

The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act was enacted after the Parliament passed it in 2003.

The NGO, Sambandh Health Foundation organised a program titled - ''COTPA - 'implementation to make tobacco free Delhi' on Thursday at the Constitution Club of India. Speaking at the programme P Kamraj, Special Commissioner (Law and Order), South Delhi, said, “Levying heavy charges for violating norms of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act (COPTA) will discourage the public, especially lower middle class people and school children to consume cigarette and other tobacco products at public places”, said P Kamraj, Special Commissioner (Law and Order), South Delhi.

“As far as school children are concerned, they receive a fixed amount from their parents for their daily expenses and if they have to pay fines of Rs 500 or Rs 1000 for violating COTPA norms, they would think twice before consuming cigarette or tobacco”, he further added. 

“'We trained police personnel regarding COTPA, following which they undertook action against people smoking at public places and selling tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutions. A change in the mindset is highly important which in turn would make people realise the importance of health,” Kamraj said.Around 10 months, an NGO- Sambandh Health Foundation which work for motivating the people to avoid tobacco products through its programmes had approached the Delhi police for this purpose. Delhi police extended its support and under the supervision P Kamraj had launched a six months drive in three districts in the national capital.

Dr. Harit Chaturvedi, one of the doctors present in the programme said, “Around 50% of all cancers and 90 % of oral cancers are caused due to tobacco. If tobacco is eliminated from the society, we can prevent 50% of all cancers. In Delhi, about 11% people are active smokers, but the ill-effects of smoking affect more than 80% people directly or indirectly.”

Replying to a question of City Spidey that, how would an anti-smoking drive help in reducing number of tobacco users when tobacco products are being openly advertised, Chaturvedi said, “Our job is to educate the people to avoid using tobacco products. This campaign is to improve the society's overall health standards. We don't expect overnight changes but in the long run there would be positive outcomes. Kerala and Karnataka are the best examples of successful anti-smoking drives as tobacco users have reduced in these states up to 40% and 24% respectively.”

TAGS: Smoking at public places in Delhi / Smoking in Delhi / Delhi police anti-smoking drive / Anti-smoking drive / Delhi police / Sambandh Health Foundation / Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act / COPTA / Delhi news / Delhi