Amendments in the existing anti-smoking law have been proposed by the government this Tuesday. This includes banning the sale of loose cigarettes by the shopkeeper. Moreover, a recommendation has been made to increase the minimum age for using tobacco from 18 to 21 years.
According to the research done by Euromonitor International India, about 70% of the cigarettes sold are in loose form. In addition to it, in year 2012, 102.1 billion cigarettes were smoked in India. The government has undergone various strict rules and regulations to suppress this growing demand but in vain. A small hike in the cost of cigarettes generally doesn’t bother the chain smokers. The government has imposed heavy tax duty on tobacco, but still they are restrained by the market.
The health ministry of India has proposed to increase the fine for smoking in the public areas from Rs.200 to Rs.1000. The smoke given out by the smoker is harmful for the person standing next to him. But you can find people standing at every corner of streets smoking without fearing penalties.
The bill recommends that “No person shall sell, offer for sale, or permit the sale of cigarettes or any other tobacco products loose or in single sticks…to any person, who is under 21 years of age, employ, engage or use any person who is under 18 years of age in cultivation, processing, and sale of tobacco or tobacco products.” It also includes the increase in fine amount of violation from Rs.10, 000 to Rs. 1 lakh.
This proposal brought joy to the Public health groups. Binoy Mathew from Voluntary Health Association of India said that “This is a step in the right direction. The government should implement reforms without delay.”
These proposals also recommend the introduction of the special courts for offences related to tobacco. No doubt this would improve the efficiency of the system altogether.