• June 16, 2024

GPS-Based App to Launch in India

 GPS-Based App to Launch in India

Image: PixPaf | Adobe Stock

Image: PixPaf | Adobe Stock

India’s Tobacco Control Cell will soon launch its GPS-based app “StopTobacco” that the population can use to lodge complaints of smoking in public places, reports The Hindu.

The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COTPA) was initiated to reduce smoking in public places and protect nonsmokers from involuntary tobacco smoke exposure. Anyone violating the COTPA can now be turned in using the new app—users simply upload a picture of the public place where the smoker is located and the state’s anti-tobacco squad will respond to the area and issue a penalty to the violator.

“We cannot be waiting for the police or municipal enforcing agency to be overburdened. This app will give us the opportunity to increase awareness about COTPA law and rules in public places, increase social responsibility for the citizens and impact positive health. This app draws a fine balance for awareness and enforcement,” said Vishal Rao, member of the state’s High Power Committee on Tobacco Control.

A similar pilot system was launched in 2019, allowing COTPA violations to be lodged via email in 10 districts. It could not be implemented across the state, however, due to the pandemic.

“After downloading the app, the photo of the public place where the violation is happening, such as a shop, bakery, hotel, school/college, bus station, railway station, playground, etc., can be clicked and uploaded. Then there will be an option to enter the district, taluk and mobile number of the complainant. The photo will reach the district tobacco control unit and be forwarded to the taluk tobacco control unit. As the app is GPS-based, the location from where the complaint has been lodged will be highlighted on the map, and the squad will rush to the spot,” said a senior official, adding that seven-member squads have been set up in every taluk to act on the complaints.