Effective smoke-free policies in achieving a high level of compliance with smoke-free law: experiences from a district of North India

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Compliance survey of smoke-free law is an effective means of measuring progress towards a smoke-free society. They also help policy makers to take action where strengthening measures are required. India has a comprehensive tobacco control law known as Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA 2003) which prohibits smoking in public places and requires display of ‘No smoking’ signages with proper specifications at conspicuous points. However, its implementation and enforcement are still a matter of concern.

Aims and objectives

To ascertain the level of compliance with smoke-free law in public places of a district of North India.


A cross sectional study was conducted in the months of November–December 2011 in district SAS Nagar Mohali of North India. The public places including hotels/restaurants/bars/shopping malls, government offices, educational institutions, healthcare facilities and transit stations were surveyed. The study tool was adapted from the guide on ‘Assessing compliance with smoke-free law’ developed jointly by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.


The overall compliance rate towards section 4 of COTPA was 92.3%. No active smoking was observed in 94.2% of the public places. In 90% of the public places ‘No Smoking’ signage were displayed as per COTPA. Health and educational institutions had maximum compliance with the smoke-free law while transit sites showed the least compliance.


Compliance to the smoke-free law was high in the study.

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