smoking ban

The world recently celebrated No Tobacco Day on 31 May. In this article we bring to you the details of public smoking ban in India and also how to register a complaint in case the smoke is getting to you.

Smoking in India

India has a long history of smoking. Atharveda first mentioned that cannabis was smoked in India around 2000 BC. Fumigation and fire offerings for medicinal purposes as prescribed by Ayurveda, has been in practice for around 3000 years. While dhumpana (drinking smoke), has been in practice for quite some time, tobacco was introduced to India only around 1600. Before modern times pipes with stems of different length and chillums were used as a tool to inhale smoke. Nowadays, cigarette smoking has replaced dhumpana. Beedi, a hand rolled herbal cigarette containing betel nut, cloves and a low proportion of tobacco is the only reminiscent of historical dhumpana.

Tobacco Legislations in India

Cigarettes (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1975 mandating specific statutory health warnings on cigarette packs was the first Indian legislation regarding tobacco. A comprehensive tobacco control bill The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA) came into force on 1 May 2004. This brought all forms of tobacco products (both smoking and smokeless) under legislative control. Prohibition of sale to and by minors and in an area of 100 yards of any educational institute was brought into force. Rules for implementation of its provisions are notified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from time to time. Chandigarh in 2007 became the first smoke free city in India.

Ban on public smoking

In 2008 the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare notified the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008 by which smoking in public places was prohibited form 2 October 2008, the day of Gandhi Jayanti. As per Section 3(l) of the COTPA, ‘public place’ means any place to which the public have access, but does not include any open space. Smoking is prohibited in open spaces visited by the public — like open auditoriums, stadiums, railway stations and bus stops. However, public places do not include parking spaces, roads, open market places, parks and private homes. A person caught smoking in public must pay a fine of Rs 200.

How to register a complaint?

The rules oblige the owner, proprietor, manager, supervisor or in-charge of the affairs of a public place to notify and display the names of the persons to whom a complaint of violation may be made. If the owner, proprietor, manager, supervisor or the authorized officer of a public place fails to act on report of such violation, the same then shall be liable to pay fine equivalent to the number of individual offences. In 2009, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare started a helpline for reporting smoking law violations. People can dial the National Toll Free Help line No. 1800-110-456 and register their complaints. Police constables are authorized to collect penalty only if they are accompanied by officers above the rank of inspector of police. State food and drug administration officers, district health society, representatives of panchayat raj institutions, chief medical officers at district- level and civil surgeons are among those who have additionally been authorized to take action within a defined jurisdiction. People should insist for a challan if they are fined for the violation.

Smoking Zones

COTPA allows smoking in hotels with 30 rooms or more, restaurants or pubs with seating capacity for 30 or more persons, and at airports. For this a smoking zone has to be set up which

  1. should be physically separated and surrounded by full-height walls;
  2. should have a system that lets the smoke go directly outside;
  3. should have an entrance with automatically closing doors;
  4. should not be used for other purposes like serving food, beverage or other services.

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  1. Saw few comments questioning on not getting receipt, but bigger question is why can’t such a……..s quit smoking… Passive smoking is equally dangerous…. if such idiots can’t live without smoking then they should go inside the smoking room and smoke as many cigarettes they want…

  2. Hi,
    Noida-Sec125, Infront of Amity University (Infront of Dell services building-Gate No.1)
    People are selling ciigarettes and gutkha openly. Sometimes related officials come for inspection but of no use.
    These illegal sellers hide for time being and continue selling these products everyday. There is no shop as such, but sell sitting on bricks and on a small wodden tables. Please take STRICT action on these and ensure that these illegal poison sellers are complete kicked away. Whenever I step out of the building, the atmosphere is as such filled with tobacco smoke – I agree it will still be there but could be controlled if its not available just outside the premises.
    You can call me for more details om 9999896786.

    Thank You!

  3. Dear Sir

    The avlone Bisness hub Ambatalavdii, Katargam Surat Gujarat India 395006

    Sir ths comersal bilding containe no of food brand like Ice cream, Restaurant and sone other but there is one smoking zone in middle of one shop. They have smoking zone inside but no body care and come out and smoking repidly in middle of promises I m worried coz there is lots of family come along with gher loved one and children also and such things will make lots of affect on the atmosphere I have related prof for that and if you can also come and check they are serving segarate to the student who is also under 18 so please do something on this issue this is very harmful for all the social people who come there to spend very good and quality time with there family this matter contain all the illegal activities which should be not allowed in crowed area so please do something on it.

  4. I work in an office and we have terrace where we sit for a lunch. sometime, while having lunch, one of our director come and starts smoking there. Even if we had put a “No Smoking” board there. Is there any way to stop this?

  5. I was smoking in front of B’lore railway station. One police came on a bike and ask for 200 Rs fine. I denied to pay him as he was not able to give me receipt. Now he took me to nearest police station. I paid but came back without receipt. Now question is why I had to go to police station sitting behind the police’s a** with my heavy luggage which I am not comfortable with? Why these polices don’t carry receipt for fine ? Even why I had to come back without receipt ? Where to complain all these ?

  6. This one is make sense, but how many are treating it as seriously, especially in trains that to those who are from north side. Even one police man also not even checking the passenger’s position in general compartment. They are getting these things like cigarette, guttka and vimal from workers those who are working in cattering services. Today I faced this issue in Telangana super fast express. I thought to take a snap of them those who are selling it and who are smoking in train seat only.

  7. We have a office space in a building named JMD Megapolis on Sohna Road, Sector-48, Gurgaon, Haryana. The building is not fully occupied so many offices are vacant/not constructed. The building is fully closed. People from other offices come in the vacant office spaces on the other side of the corridor and smoke there in groups. We have asked them many a times not to smoke there as the builder has already provided a designated area outside the building. Please suggest course of action as these people don’t seem to be bothered. Already called the Anti-tobacco helpline.

  8. neighbor cigarette smoking in the society common area on the floor the air gets polluted and enters our flat. in spite of many oral request complaint this continues, do we have any recourse against him/ society committee members?

  9. Address: Street no.8, Bhandarkar Road, opp cosmos Bank, Deccan Gymkhana, Pune 411004.

    Every evening 5pm to 10 pm, the road is being jammed by many youngsters with their vehicles. Smoking Cigaret, drinking cold coffee, chewing tobacco, public kissing and spoiling the total culture and poluting all the area in a no parking area. May I know who is the savior to us.


  10. ganesh meridian ,sola,nr.gujarat high court,ahmedabad,gujarat
    this complex on every floor in every 15 minutes people are smoking and disturbed other people
    so please take some legal actions my number 9099684496 paavan panchal

  11. I stay in a flat where my neighbor smoke in his balcony and smoke enters my house. He does not listen to any request. Is there any forum to complain against him?

    • Firstly no law prevents smoking in private homes. You both need to compromise and come to some understanding.

      Other option is to prevent smoke entering. Check where the leakage is and close it.

  12. I stay in a flat where my neighbor smoke in his balcony and smoke enters my house. He does not listen to any request. Is there any forum to complain against him?

    • Balcony of a private home is out of scope of this law. You both need to discuss and come to an understanding. Maybe he can smoke so and so hours or similar.

      Confrontation never helps such cases.