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Smoking in public banned; 47,282 fined

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Thiruvananthapuram: With Kerala police tightening action against smoking in public, 47,282 persons have been fined during July-September quarter in the state for violating the no-public smoking provision of the Indian tobacco control law- COTPA, 2003.

The figures showed over 85 per cent jump as compared to the same period last year. This is a record-high number ever since Kerala Police started an online system of COTPA violation reporting in October 2012, a release said.

Of the total 20 police districts, 17 districts have recorded action against public smokers in September 2015, as per the latest figures in the official police website. For the sake of administrative convenience, 14 revenue districts of the state have been divided into 20 police districts, it said.

The impressive performance, showcased during the quarter, also comes from doubling and tripling of efforts by six district police teams as compared to July-September 2014. These include, Thiruvananthapuram City; Pathanamthitta; Ernakulam City; Thrissur City; Palakkad and Malappuram.

In Malappuram, for instance, the number of persons fined has increased from 52 during last July-September quarter to 5,726 the same period this year. Palakkad has witnessed an over nine-fold increase, from 503 to 4,619.

State Police Chief TP Senkumar IPS said, Kerala Police takes its commitment of safeguarding the health of our people very seriously. We realise the dangerous impact of second-hand smoke and do not want our non-smoking population to suffer silently in public places.

He also said action against COTPA violations are reviewed every month in the crime review meetings. The ‘Clean Campus, Safe Campus’ programme launched by the government on May 30 last year has strengthened COTPA implementation and tobacco control, Senkumar added.

As per figures of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 2009-10 of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the World Health Organisation, 30 per cent of men and 8.5 per cent of women are exposed to second-hand smoke in public places, the release added.

PTI