Kochi: Despite regulations being stringent, public smoking in the state is on the rise, says police records. Ernakulam leads the league, with Kannur and Thrissur closely on the heels. Records show that Rs. 4 crore has been fined from the smokers during the period between January- December, 2016.

Parking lots, offices, stadiums, hotels, commercial establishments, bus stands, railway stations, airports, schools and libraries have emerged as the major haunts of the smokers. Rs. 52,57,600 has been fined from the smokers so far.

Ernakulam rural registered 23,961 cases of public smoking and Ernakulam city had 9295 smokers, together making it to the top of the list. Kannur follows with 31,731 smokers and Thrissur had 21,940 public smokers. Smokers at Kannur have paid a total fine of Rs. 63,46,200 and Thrissur contributed Rs. 42,60,600. During the same period Palakkad registered 14,895 cases of public smoking, Kozhikode stands 5th and Kollam sixth with 13,805, Thiruvananthapuram seventh with 11,012 smokers and Pathanamthitta with 9797 smokers. Malappuram came ninth with 9695 smokers and Kottayam had 9371 smokers. Wayanad, Kasargod at 13th and Alappuzha at 14th position with 3895 smokers marks the end of the list.

14,017 smokers were fined Rs. 28,22,800 at Railway stations. Justice Narayana Kurup said that the law will be made more stringent and more public raids will be conducted. The police must show more enthusiasm in these efforts. Roadside kiosks must cease to be the convenient smoking joints, he said while expressing concern over the increasing number of public smokers.