Srinagar: Stepping up the anti-tobacco crusade in Jammu and Kashmir, the state police has fined over 500 persons for violating Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act during last month.
"Police has challaned 521 people and collected Rs 46,100 as fine from them across 12 districts of the valley for violating Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) during October," a police spokesman said.
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.
The state government had recently directed the police to incorporate COTPA violations in the monthly crime review for strengthening the public health measure at the district and sub-district level.
The state police chief has been asked to collate the violations for strengthening institutionalisation of the mechanism and to forward the details on monthly basis to the Superintendents of Police of the districts.
The COTPA, enacted in 2003 and applicable to the entire country, was mainly to discourage the consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products by imposing progressive restrictions and to protect non-smokers from passive smoking.
"It is heartening to see that police came forward even after the devastating floods and worked towards protecting the health of people in the state by supporting COTPA enforcement in districts.
"It is good the SPs of these districts has taken lead and streamlined the regular reporting on the compliance of COTPA in monthly crime reporting," Executive Director, Voluntary Health Association of India, Bhavna Mukhopadhyay said.