Centre has cracked the whip on consumption of cigarettes and tobacco products by proposing a slew of amendments to the (COTPA) Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Amendment) Bill 2015.
The draft Bill, which has been put out in the public domain by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for inviting suggestions from stakeholders by February 15, proposes to do away with on-site advertising of tobacco products.
Which means kiosks and shops selling cigarettes and other tobacco products will no longer be able to display the brand names.
To prevent exposure of non-smokers to harmful emissions, the Ministry has proposed scrapping designated smoking areas from hotels, restaurants and airports; making an exception only for international airports.
The penalty for smoking in restricted areas has been upped from Rs. 200 to Rs. 1000.
Anyone found producing tobacco products without the specified warning will be liable for imprisonment for up to two years for the first offence or fine up to Rs. 50,000 or both.
For the second and subsequent offences the imprisonment can be up to five years with a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh.
Selling products without warning will incur a fine of up to Rs. 10,000 or a jail term of up to one year or both.
Subsequent offence will draw a fine of up to Rs. 25,000 and a jail term of two years.
Tobacco products and cigarettes in approved packaging will now be sold only to those above 21 years of age.
The proposed age limit will be revised to 23 and 25 in two phases after evaluating the impact of raising the minimum age.
The draft Bill also proposes a ban on spitting of tobacco products, pointing it out as the biggest cause of spread of TB, avian flu and H1N1.
It has also been proposed to extend the ban on sale of cigarettes and tobacco products from 100 yards of an educational institution to 100 metres.
Ministry has said, suggesting a ban on sale of cigarette sticks :Sale of tobacco products loose and in small pouches makes minors susceptible to tobacco use as it becomes convenient and cheaper to buy tobacco products, it promotes the sale of tobacco and makes pack warning redundant..
An official of the Ministry told that a crucial amendment is the proposal to set up a National Tobacco Control Organisation (NTCO) that will implement and monitor the provisions of COTPA, 2003
National Tobacco Control Organisation (NTCO) will also be the nodal agency for tobacco control issues like defence of court cases and product regulation and testing through accredited laboratories.