Smokers beware. The Chennai Corporation is planning to crack down on people who violate the rule prohibiting smoking in public places.

At a meeting of sanitary inspectors organised by the State Tobacco Control Cell on Tuesday, corporation officials have been asked to impose a fine of Rs. 200 on persons smoking in public places. Those who fail to pay the fine will be taken to a nearby police station and a case will be filed against them.

Even though the fine is already being collected sporadically from smokers since the law came into effect in the city in 2008, the rule is not enforced effectively.

At the meeting, officials insisted on strict enforcement of all the rules with regard to smoking and tobacco products.

The civic body will also begin removing all hoardings and billboards depicting tobacco products in the city after February 25. A survey of such hoardings in commercial establishments will first be conducted and shops will be asked to remove them before February 25. Action will also be initiated against shops that sell tobacco products within a radius of 100 yards of an educational institution.

According to the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, “No person shall smoke in any public place, provided that in a hotel having 30 rooms or a restaurant having seating capacity of 30 persons or more and in the airports, a separate provision for smoking area or space may be made.”

A public place is defined as any place to which the public has access and includes all places visited by the general public such as auditoriums, hospital buildings, railway waiting rooms, amusement centres, public offices, court buildings, educational institutions, libraries, coffee houses, canteens, banks, clubs, as well as open spaces surrounding restaurants.

Fine of Rs. 200 to be collected as per law; officials plan stringent enforcement of rule