With an aim of reducing the tobacco consumption in India, health ministry has proposed to ban the sale of loose cigarettes country wide, also it pointed on raising the minimum legal age of selling cigarettes or any other tobacco products in the country.
An expert panel was constructed by the government to suggest new innovative ways of reducing tobacco consumption including cigarettes in the country where number people suffering from tobacco generated cancer are increasing day by day. Health ministry accepted the recommendations made the expert panel and today; the proposal was circulated in the Rajya Sabha for consultation.
“The expert panel constituted by the ministry of health and family welfare has, inter alia, recommended prohibition on sale of loose or single stick of cigarette, increasing the minimum legal age for sale of tobacco products, increasing the fine or penalty amounts for violation of certain provision of the cigarettes and other tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act. 2003 (COTPA), as well as making offences cognizable,” health minister J P Nadda said in the Rajya Sabha today.
According to the health ministry, if the recommended step is successfully implemented then it might reduce the tobacco consumption by at least 10 to 20 percent nationwide. As nearly 70 percent cigarettes are sold loose in India. On a contrary note, it will reduce the total tax that the government collects as cigarette industry generates a total of 25,000 crores per annum just from taxes.
Experts stated health department’s move is in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s framework convention on tobacco reduction that emphasizes on prohibition and restricted sale of tobacco in country including stopping sales of loose cigarettes as it makes them more affordable for minors.