Police books 23, 754 people for COTPA violations

‘21.50 lakh recovered as fine during the past two years’

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police has booked more than twenty three thousand persons for violating Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) during the last two years.

“Police has made 23,754 challans and collected Rs 21.50 lakh as fine from these people for violating section 4 of COTPA for smoking in public places during May 2013 to May 2015,” a police spokesman said.

He said that Police is putting the violations of COTPA as one of the agenda points in the monthly crime review of the Station House Officers (SHO’s) at the district level.

Pertinently, Jammu and Kashmir is the second state after Karnataka, where police department is printing and distributing its own challan books for COTPA enforcement.

“It is heartening to see that police department is coming forward to protect the health of people in the state by supporting COTPA enforcement,” said Afzal Makhdomi, J&K Consultant for Tobacco Control, Voluntary Health Association of India.

He said that K Rajendra Kumar, Director General of Police (DGP), Jammu and Kashmir has been a great support for ensuring tobacco control measures in the entire state.

Interestingly, the state has 12 per cent cigarette smokers - almost double the nation-wide prevalence of 5.7 per cent - and 3.8 per cent bidi smokers and eight per cent smokeless tobacco users, according to a survey released by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Prohibition on smoking in public spaces, prohibition on all forms of direct or indirect advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products, prohibition on sale of tobacco products to minors and within a radius of 100 yards of educational institutions, and mandatory depiction of specified health warnings on all tobacco products are the major provisions of COTPA.

As per section 12 of the act, any police officer, not below the rank of the Sub Inspector, can take action against these violations.

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