Published on December 9, 2008
Enforcement in Tobacco Control Challenges & Way Ahead
The Enforcement Key to success of any it’ legislation depends on it’s effective ENFORCEMENT The same is true for “Tobacco Control” laws too Unfortunately enforcement component gets very little attention and not much work has been done on enforcement of tobacco control laws
Challenges of Enforcement Lack of awareness about the rationale of the “tobacco issue” and about tobacco control laws among enforcers Lack about the provisions of the law and how it can be connected with other laws Lack of proper training Perceived low importance of law Smokers among the law enforcers who have diluted commitment towards the law
Enforcement Date Creating an appropriate enforcement date: Why it is important? Gives time to raise the compliance to a certain level before the formal announcement comes Pushes Tobacco Control into the priority list It puts things in the right perspective Timelines and deadlines give the sense of urgency Allows time for Public Education campaigns Allows time for training of the enforcers, preparing for the action and plugging the weak links.
Fixing the modalities Questions which need to be answered before enforcement initiated? Which all agencies/departments would be the implementing agencies for the law? Who will coordinate between different departments for varied functionalities of enforcement? The agency/department responsible for delegation. What additional resources/funds would be required? Who will prepare the guidelines and decide the enforcement procedures? Who will train the enforcers?
Enforcement procedures The Checklist Formed a central unit to plan, supervise and coordinate activities Clearly defined agencies to implement various provisions of the legislation Delegated responsibilities, assigned roles and clear guidelines issued Created a proper mechanism and trained the implementing units on the same Proper enforcement methods defined Empowered the agencies by way of proper orders/notification and/or rules Proper provisions for providing adequate funding and resources put in place
Taking Cognizance – Penal Provisions Simple way of making complaints for penal action Easy system of taking cognizance/notice of violation Well defined procedure on initiating prosecution and levying penalties
Taking Cognizance – Penal Provisions Defining the courts/judicial bodies empowered to try Compounding mechanism for petty offences under the law Clearly defining officers who are empowered to compound the offences Defining the ways/methods by which of fines/penalties are to be collected and deposited in government treasury
Guiding – Monitoring – Corrective Actions Place a system of monitoring of violations in place A procedure for compliance checking Regular reporting and centralised monitoring point Collection of statistics and keeping a record of offenders and violations USING THE MONITORING INFORMATION FOR Realigning partners at regular intervals Retraining Training and sensitising the new partners Documenting successes and good practice Identifying bottle-necks and plugging them
Compliance Vs. Enforcement Differentiate between compliance and enforcement and develop a procedure to keep separate record of both – compliance and enforcement are interdependent but good compliance is no reason to be complacent – Low level and irregular enforcement will eventually lead to low compliance; and vice versa COMPLIANCE: When people obey the law and follow it voluntary ENFORCEMENT: When an agency empowered to act under the Act has to take corrective action/penal action and prosecute/penalise the violators
Way Ahead Building a strategic media communication plan to generate pointed public opinion and sensitize law enforcers Training the law enforcers Ensuring a proper and effective system of continuous monitoring of enforcement is in place Regular sensitization, training and monitoring to keep things on track
Way Ahead Standardize enforcement procedures, forms and records, systematic recordkeeping, and tracking of compliance data. Establish a complaints procedure to receive reports of violations and follow them up. Ensure sufficient legal and other staff to review violations and ensure they are acted upon.
Way Ahead Establish a mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of the inspection and enforcement process. For example, the number of inspections, number of cases taken forward, number successfully prosecuted, data trends, and results reporting, should all be tracked. Incorporate inspections for tobacco control into other programmed inspections where legally possible and feasible. For example, smoke-free law can be incorporated into health and safety, municipal laws, food safety, consumer safety, building control, and licensing inspections.
Prioritizing Enforcement Developing a strategic priority of enforcement - Categorize offences and connect to other criminal laws - Developing a different level of seriousness for each category of offences - Identifying separate enforcement officers for different level - Violations relating to product promotion and advertising - Sale to Minors, etc. - Public Smoking - Monitoring
FOCUS Remember: Key to success of Tobacco Control legislation depends it’ on it’s effective ENFORCEMENT
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