I have heard about it for the first time from you! Implementation of tobacco control law by police personnel in India.
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JournalPublic Health Action
AbstractSetting and Objetives: Police personnel, alongside other key stakeholders, are responsible for implementing the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) in India. This study aimed to assess knowledge and attitudes about COTPA among police personnel and explore enablers and barriers in implementing it. Design: This convergent parallel mixed-methods study used a self-administered questionnaire (quantitative) and key informant interviews (qualitative). Of 300 police personnel across all eight police stations in Daman, 155 participated. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and the χ2 test. Qualitative data from in-depth interviews of six key informants from all coordinating departments were analysed thematically. Results: Overall, 63.2% of responders were aware of any tobacco control law in India, and only 12.9% were trained in its implementation. One person had conducted inspections for COTPA compliance in the last 12 months. The majority (78.1%) of the police personnel, and significantly more tobacco non-users than users (81.2% vs. 52.9%, P = 0.016), felt that enforcing anti-tobacco regulations is one of their most important functions. Perceived benefits of the act and formal authority to act were the two main enablers of COTPA implementation. Lack of awareness and coordination, competing priorities, concentration of authority with higher-ranking officials and evasion of the law by retailers and the public hampered effective implementation of the law. Conclusion: Knowledge about the COTPA was average and implementation poor. Sensitisation and training of implementers, systematic transparent reporting and creating awareness among public are recommended for effective implementation.