As many as 5,234 people in the city were booked for smoking in public in 2013. According to the data released by the Kerala police, Kochi is one of the places where high number of cases were registered for public smoking under the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of advertisement and regulation of Trade and Commerce, production, Supply and Distribution) Acts (COTPA) 2003.
As per the data, `3,39,300 was collected as fine from people caught for smoking in public. Around 27 people were arrested for selling tobacco products to minors. Around 18 cases were registered for selling tobacco products in an area within one hundred yards of educational institutions. As many as 30 cases were registered for selling tobacco products without the mandatory depiction of specified health warnings.
In the entire state, the police registered 57,937 cases for public smoking. The police also have collected a sum of `84.80 lakhs as fine.
Police officials in Kochi said that due to constant checking, only a few people smoke in public. They said that still there are few shops in the city which sell cigarettes near the schools. However, the main concern is that the increasing number of chewing tobacco being smuggled from other states.
“Before imposing ban on the chewing tobacco, there was a huge demand for it. Still now, some shop owners sell chewing tobacco to people who are familiar to them. The good number of migrant workers are addicted to chewing tobacco. They bring large quantity of chewing tobacco packets with them. Looking at the annual data, it is clear that enforcement activities against public smoking are high in Kochi, Kozhikode City, Kozhikode Rural, Trissur Rural and Kannur,” said an official.