`Give harsher punishment to habitual offenders of anti-tobacco law`

Panaji: An anti-tobacco watchdog has suggested the govt to implement harsher punishment, including a big fine and imprisonment for habitual offenders of anti-tobacco law.

Such a step would deter habitual offenders like filmstars who usually think they are above law and for whom the nominal fine is not a big deal, said Shekhar Salkar, General Secretary, National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE).

"Habitual offenders should be given harsher punishments and after three monetary fines in increasing levels, a repeat offence should be punishable for at least one day behind the bars," he said.

Commenting on the recent incident of Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan smoking in a stadium at Rajasthan during IPL, Salkar said that Khan`s act indicates his "attitude" toward his responsibilities as an influential personality.

A Jaipur court has asked Khan to appear before it on May 26 following complaint by Anand Singh, head of Jaipur Cricket Academy, who had sought action against the star under section 5/11 of Rajasthan Prohibition of Smoking Act, 2000, which prohibits smoking in public places.