Millennium Post

2,250 fined in UP for tobacco use in public place

The Uttar Pradesh government has fined a total of 2,250 people and collected Rs 1,98,096 during 2016-17 for using tobacco products in public places, an official said on Wednesday.

The government fined 12,444 people and collected Rs 14,28,261 between April 2013 and March 2017 for violating Section 4 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA, 2003), by smoking in public places.

Section 4 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act COTPA 2003 prohibits smoking in all public places.

This information was provided by the government in the Rajya Sabha in response to a question, an NGO working for tobacco-free society told IANS.

'Public Place' is defined as any place to which the public has access whether as of right or not and includes all places visited by general public. Boards containing the warning "No Smoking Area - Smoking Here is an Offence" have to be displayed prominently at the entrance of public places.

The new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath recently banned the consumption of 'gutka' and 'pan masala' in all government offices, educational institutions and hospitals in Uttar Pradesh.

"Uttar Pradesh has demonstrated tremendous commitment towards safeguarding the health of people of the state from second-hand smoke. This praise-worthy step will go a long way in saving lakhs of lives", said J.P. Sharma, Executive Director, Vinoba Seva Ashram, an NGO working for tobacco-free society.

The COTPA, enacted in 2003 and applicable to the entire country, was mainly to discourage the consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products by imposing progressive restrictions and to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke.

The implementation of COTPA is best done when the system and mechanism is institutionalised, he added.

As per Section 12 of COTPA, any police officer, not below the rank of Sub-Inspector, can take action against such violations.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) India 2009-10 released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare conveys that 33.9 per cent population of Uttar Pradesh is using tobacco product in one or the other form.

Uttar Pradesh has 2.3 per cent cigarette smokers, 12.4 per cent bidi smokers and 25.3 per cent smokeless tobacco users.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), second-hand smoke is a major cause of serious diseases and premature death in non-smoking adults and children. Second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 60 known to cause cancer.

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