Kerala booked 77,288 smokers in 2012

Thiruvananthapuram, June 23 (IANS) With Kerala Police stepping up the vigil against those smoking in public places, 77,288 people were booked under the provisions of an anti-smoking law in 2012, a Kerala minister said here Sunday.

Releasing the figures, state Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said strict instructions have been issued to police to ensure enforcement of the provisions of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003, in Kerala.

The ban on smoking in public places was found to be most strictly enforced in Ernakulam district where about 26,000 cases were registered in 2012, while just 249 cases were registered in Pathanamthitta district during the same period, the minister said.

Indian Railways, too, registered 226 cases against those smoking in trains and on platforms in the state.

The state government has now directed the police to keep an eye on shopkeepers who provide matches or lighters to smokers to light cigarettes.

According to Radhakrishnan, 54,980 cases were registered against those smoking in public places in 2011.

Smoking in public places is prohibited in India under Section 4 of COPTA but its enforcement is a matter of concern in many parts of the country.

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