Kerala is heading to be first in the country to have its transport services free of tobacco. All forms of tobacco advertisements have already been banned in the state.
Kerala Transport Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, issued a series of far-reaching directions that are significant in propelling Kerala to the forefront in public health.
In compliance with the provisions of Indian Tobacco Control Law, Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, Transport Commissioner R Sreelekha has issued directions to all Deputy Transport Commissioners, Regional Transport Officers and Joint Regional Transport Officers to take action against any instances of smoking in public conveyances, bus depots and transport bus stands.
Ticket conductors have also been authorized under COTPA to fine smokers in public conveyances. A fine of Rs. 200 will be charged from the violators.
As mandated by section-4 of the Act, pictorial no smoking signages will be displayed in all public vehicles at a prominent place.
Inspections for vehicle registration and fitness certificate issuance will check whether pictorial signages are exhibited in the vehicle.
Directions have been issued to ensure that there are no direct or indirect advertisements of tobacco products on public conveyances, as mandated by sec-5 of COTPA.
Recording of offenses will form part of the monthly checking report of the department. These directions are binding on all public conveyances, including autos, taxis, and private buses.
"The World Health Organization has said that only 100 per cent smoke-free environments will adequately protect the public from dangers of second-hand smoke. We are determined to create a healthy and safe public transport in Kerala and are in the process of creating sustainable and transparent systems of implementation," said Sreelekha.
Smoking and sale of tobacco products in all buses, bus stations and offices has been strictly prohibited by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). Unit heads have been directed to ensure that no tobacco products are sold in any stall or canteen inside KSRTC depots.
No smoking signages has been displayed in all serviceable boats under the State Water Transport Department in Kerala. Special squads have been formed to inspect any cases of smoking onboard.
Railways have also implemented a ban on smoking and Kerala Railway Police and Railway Protection Force have been keeping a strict vigil on smoking in trains.