A look into the heart of Delhi’s Schools and colleges to see whether they are complying to India’s Anti Smoking regulation. Are the signboards in place? Are there vendors within 100 yards? Are young people safe from cigarette promotion?

For the attention of: The World Health Organisation, The Indian Government, The Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Principals of Schools and Colleges in major cities

The problem: India enacted the Anti-smoking law COTPA in 2003. There are educational institutes which may not put the required board for anti-smoking law compliance. There also may be cigarette vendors present within 100 yards of educational institutions. This may be all the more crucial as there is defiance in the heart of India’s capital city, the administrative centre of India.

What we did and why: We surveyed the surroundings of schools to see whether the required signboards had been placed outside of schools or not. We also checked to see whether there were vendors present within the prohibited 100 yards of these educational institutions.

What our study adds: We clearly shed light on the present status of non-compliance of the signboard regulation in the administrative precinct of New Delhi, India. In addition:

  • We provide details of non-compliance where the exact requirement of the signboards may not be met and the educational institution may do something else in its place.

  • We show the defiant presence of cigarette and tobacco vendors within the proximity of educational institutions.

Implications for city policy and practice: This is a very crucial study as it will require enhanced implementation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

We suggest the need to increase the teeth of anti-tobacco law in India. This may work for other cities having statues related to traffic restrictions or fast food sales, where compliance checks may be needed – as mere statute-making may not always be enough.

The study brings to light the need for understanding that mere formulation of statute needs the complementary step of assessment for compliance; and of securing bottom-up involvement and implementation through community action.

For further information:
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India: India’s Tobacco Laws:
Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 [COTPA, 2003] and Related Rules.

Full research article: Signboards prohibiting tobacco sale within 100 yards of educational institutes: the appraisal of prohibition compliance and on-ground status of the anti-smoking law in New Delhi’s major administrative precinct by Raja Singh