There may soon be a ban on sale of loose cigarettes in India.
The Union government has accepted a new tougher framework for tobacco sale as part of recommendations of an expert panel which prompted
It also considered raising the minimum age of those who can be sold tobacco products to 25 years from the current 18.
Another proposal under consideration is increasing the fine for smoking in public and violation of other provisions of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003.
As a result, shares of tobacco giants ITC and Godfrey Phillips India tanked 5% and 9%
According to some industry estimates, loose cigarettes account for over 75% of total sales.
In his reply in the Rajya Sabha, health minister J P Nadda said the ministry has accepted the suggestions made by the expert committee on prohibition on sale of loose or single stick of cigarette;increasing the minimum legal age for sale of tobacco products and increasing the fine or penalty amounts for violation of certain provisions of the Act as well as making such offences cognizable.
The ministry has circulated a draft note on the new norms, seeking comments from other ministries.
The panel was formed by the health ministry to review Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA).
The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control states that countries “shall endeavor“ to prohibit sale of loose cigarettes because it makes them more affordable for minors.
India is a signatory to the convention.
Soon after assuming office, the BJP-led government had raised excise on cigarettes
It has also called for a countrywide ban on sale of tobacco products.
Centre is now also considering a ban on branding on cigarette packets.