As many as 88 people have been penalised in Meghalaya in the last three years under Section 4 of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003 for smoking in public places.
According to the statistics provided by the health ministry in the Lok Sabha on Friday, 14 people were penalised in 2019-20, followed by 22 in 2020-21 and 52 people in 2021-22.
Amongst the Northeastern states, Assam witnessed the maximum penalty of 304 people after they were charged for smoking in public places.
As per the statistics, in Karnataka 180688 people were penalized in 2019-20 followed by 179756 people in 2020-21 and 147319 people in 2021-22.
Nagaland and Andaman & Nicobar are the only two states and UT where no people were charged with smoking in public places.
To reduce smoking at public places and to protect non-smokers from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke, the government has enacted a comprehensive legislation, namely the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003) to regulate the use of tobacco products.
Any violation of the Act is a punishable offence with a fine of upto Rs 200.
Section-4 of the COTPA, 2003, prohibits smoking in public places, including restaurants, provided that in a hotel having thirty rooms or a restaurant having seating capacity of thirty persons or more and in airports, there is a separate provision of smoking area.
Further, as per rules made under the Act, no service shall be allowed in any smoking area or space provided for smoking.
Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharati Pravin Pawar told the Lok Sabha that the enforcement of provisions of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA, 2003) and Rules made under the Act primarily lies with the states and Union Territories.