Health
Tobacco free West Bengal campaign requests state govt to issue challans for non-compliance of COTPA 2003
Trans World Features | @twfindia | 18 Dec 2019
Tobacco free West Bengal campaign requests state govt to issue challans for non-compliance of COTPA 2003
Kolkata: Taking note of the situation of public smoking in the city, states like Rajasthan, Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi have started acting against people who are seen smoking in public places or selling tobacco within a radius of 100 yards of educational institutions.

The City Police have started drives to fine the public for violation of COTPA 2003. Challans are being issued under Section 4 of COTPA, which prohibits smoking at all public places. Others are being fined under Section 6 (B), which states that "no person shall sell, offer for sale or permit sale of, cigarettes or any other tobacco product in an area within a radius of one hundred yards of any educational institution."

 

The other sections in which challans are being issued include Section 7 (pictorial health warnings on tobacco packs), Section 5 (prohibition of brand promotion of all tobacco products) and Section 6 (no person shall sell, offer for sale or permit sale of cigarettes or any other tobacco product to any person who is under eighteen years of age). The City Police plan to continue keeping an eye on people involved in such activities.

 

However, there is no published data or information about West Bengal regarding issuance of challans for non-compliance of COTPA 2003.

 

In the period April 2016 to March 2017, Kerala collected Rs. 27266600 through challans, Karnataka Rs. 16051276; Gujarat Rs. 3997025; Bihar Rs. 279435; Odisha Rs. 279435 and Goa Rs. 479300. West Bengal, however, does not yet figure in this challan status.

 

Over the years, Kolkata has witnessed a rise in the number of people consuming Tobacco.

 

According to the latest statistics of GATS - 2 (Global Adult Tobacco Survey) 2016-17, 56.1% people are exposed to second-hand smoking at home, 57.5% people are exposed to second-hand smoking at workplace, 14.7 % at public transportation, 5.3% at government buildings, 5.3% at healthcare facilities and 4 % at restaurants.

 

The statistics highlight how the citizens are at risk. The mean age at initiation of tobacco use has increased from 17.5 years in GATS 1 to 19.4 years in GATS 2.

 

Hence, prosecution under COTPA 2003 is essential to save citizens from the harmful effects of tobacco. It is also critical for the Police to report the number of challans being issued for non-compliance of COTPA in the Monthly Crime Report, as is being done by almost all the states.

 

Indranil Dasgupta of Tobacco Free West Bengal Campaign said that "the proper implementation of COTPA Act 2003 is mandatory but unfortunately there are very few convictions".

 

Tobacco Free West Bengal is a non-governmental initiative—an effort to deliver high impact, evidence-based tobacco-control interventions. This campaign is focused on achieving and implementing sustainable developments by the Government of West Bengal that will lead to substantial reductions in tobacco use and make the environment ‘smoke-free’.