As part of its initiatives for public health through enforcement of Indian tobacco control law COTPA, 2003, Kerala Police has fined over 5.3 lakh persons from 2013 to 2016, bringing more than Rs 10.6 crore in revenue to the exchequer in the process.
Records made available in the official website of the Kerala Police show that there has been a steady increase in the numbers of persons fined over this four year period. From 63,513 in 2013, the numbers have risen to 2.05 lakh in 2016, under various sections of COTPA.
The highest numbers of persons have been fined for smoking in public places, which constitutes a violation of Section 4 of COTPA, 2003. Action under this section alone has yielded Rs 4.17 crore in 2016.
In 2014, Kerala was declared India’s first tobacco advertisement free state. That this prized distinction is being sustained is reflected in the numbers of cases booked under Section 5 of the Act. From 3,860 cases in 2013, the numbers have fallen to a mere 37 in 2016. Section 5 of COTPA prohibits all forms of tobacco advertisements, promotions and sponsorships.
The numbers however indicate a worrisome nearly 80 per cent growth in the sale of tobacco products to and by minors, which is prohibited under Section 6 (a) of COTPA. From 358 cases in 2013, it has risen to 642 in 2016.
Section 6 (b) of the Act prohibits sale of tobacco products in an area within a radius of 100 yards of an educational institution. This section, again, has seen an increase in the number of cases from 1,258 in 2013 to 3,065 in 2016.
Kerala Police is vigilant in curbing any sale of tobacco products without the mandated 85 per cent pictorial warnings. In 2016, 328 such cases were charged.
Details are available on http://www.keralapolice.gov.in/public-information/crime-statistics/cotpa-violations.
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