21,600 fined for violating smoking ban, Govt vows crackdown

New Delhi: As many as 21,600 people were fined in the city in the last 14 months for violating the ban on smoking in public places while around 3,200 errant tobacco vendors were penalised during the period.

Launching a month-long "no tobacco" campaign, Delhi Health Minister AK Walia vowed that the government crackdown against the violators of ban on smoking in public places will continue.

"During January, 2010 to March 2011, a total of 1,81,000 places were inspected and 21,600 persons and around 3,200 tobacco vendors were penalised," Walia said, expressing strong resolve to penalise the violators.

Inaugurating the month long "no tobacco" campaign, the Minister exhorted the citizens to avoid smoking and said around 3,000 people die everyday due to tobacco habits in India.

"It causes 10 lakh deaths per year in the country," he said.

The campaign has been organised by Bhagidari Jan Sahyog Samiti in association with Directorate of Health Services of Delhi government.

Walia said Delhi is a pioneering state to implement tobacco control legislations.

"We have been implementing provisions of Delhi Prohibition of Smoking and Non Smoker's Health Protection Act 1996 and the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003," he said.

Both the legislations have provision relating to ban in smoking in public places, prohibiting sale of tobacco products to the minors, prohibiting sale of tobacco products within hundred meter radius of a school and ban on advertisement of tobacco products.

The government is keen to virtually make Delhi smoke free with the intention to protect the citizen from the ill effects of exposure to tobacco smoke, to reduce the prevalence of smoking and to honour the rights of the citizens to breathe clean air.

The month-long campaign will include a number of activities including debating competitions, poster competitions and a rally.