Health Ministry accepts proposal to ban sale of loose cigarettes
New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry has accepted a proposal to ban the sale of loose cigarettes in the country.
According to Health Minister JP Nadda, the Ministry, besides accepting a proposal seeking banning the sale of lose cigarettes, is also contemplating on raising the minimum legal age for sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21.
The proposal, however, is yet to be sent to the Union Cabinet for approval as the Ministry is still awaiting comments from other ministries, he told in the Rayja Sabha yesterday.
“The Ministry has accepted the recommendations and a draft note for Cabinet has been circulated for consultation,” Nadda told Rajya Sabha.
Nearly 70 per cent of all cigarettes sales in India are in the form of loose cigarettes. According to data from market research firm Euromonitor International, India smoked 102.1 billion sticks of cigarettes in 2012.
An expert committee formed by the Ministry has also suggested increasing the fine for violation of certain provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003.
The International Tobacco Control Project has estimated that as many as 9,00,000 people in India die from tobacco-related diseases in a year and that number could jump to 1.5 million by 2020.