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Only 6 out of 21 states didn’t violate anti-tobacco ad laws in 2012-13

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NEW DELHI: Andhra Pradesh led in the number of violations of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA) with prosecution of 71,705 persons and collection of Rs 52,83,948 as fine between April 2012 and September last year.

Parliament was informed by Health Minister Harshvardhan that the enforcement of COTPA is the responsibility of the states.

Of the 21 states for which data was available, six had not reported any cases during this period. Only four states exceeded the prosecution/challan of more than 10,000 persons.

In Tamil Nadu, a total of 26,081 persons were prosecuted and a sum of Rs 27,73,750 was collected as fine. Karnataka had 19,030 prosecutions resulting in collection of Rs 19, 58,724 as fine, while Rajasthan had 12,891 prosecutions and Rs 13,51,314 as fine.

COTPA Amendment Rules 2011 were notified in August 2011. These rules mandate prohibition of sale of tobacco products to and by persons below the age of eighteen years and recovery of fine thereon by the authorised officers.

The then health secretary in August last year had written to all the chief secretaries and director generals of police in states/union territories for implementing the rules related to regulation of advertisements at points of sale.

Based upon the request of Health & Family Welfare Ministry, the then home secretary in May this year sent an advisory to the director generals of police in states /union territories to incorporate COTPA as one of the agenda items in the monthly crime review meetings at the district level.

In June this year, then Health Ministry additional secretary wrote to all the chief secretaries and administrators in states /union territories to make compliance to COTPA a necessary condition in the licenses being issued to eating house and restaurants.

Meanwhile, the Health Minister said in reply to another question that multimedia campaigns are implemented for behaviour change on mass media supported by outdoor media such as hoardings, bus panels, information kiosks, folk performances and exhibition vans for creating awareness and demand generation at service centres/facilities across the country among general population on services being provided to prevent AIDS.

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