India’s Anti-Smoking Legislation and Amendments

According to WHO (world health organisation), Indians contribute to 12% in the world’s smoking population. The current anti-smoking constitution is said to be amended quite soon. The amendments that are going to be proposed in tobacco and cigarette products includes (prohibition of regulation and advertisement in commerce and trade, production, distribution and supply), in the Bill 2015.

Current Anti-smoking legal-code

  • The current scenario regarding the laws of smoking tobacco, talks about a complete ban of smoking in public areas, and is actually banned across the country, which has been an effective rule since 2008
  • Minimum age required for the purchase of any kind of tobacco product is 18
  • Smoking tobacco in public spaces involves a penalty of Rs 200
  • Any person below 18 years of age is not allowed to engage in processing, cultivation, sale of tobacco products or cigarettes.
  • Tobacco industry cannot hire anyone under age 18 as that is illegal in this country. Selling or displaying of any tobacco substance in places where it is prohibited is illegal. If anyone is found guilty doing so then they are to be fined for Rs 10,000.
  • Indirect or direct advertisements regarding tobacco are banned
  • Selling of tobacco within 100 metres from educational institution or schools is prohibited.
  • Carrying a specific warning regarding health in all the tobacco products have been made mandatory by the law.

Public spaces where use of tobacco or smoking is prohibited

Amusement centre, Court buildings, Hospitals, Public offices, Colleges, Schools, Bus stops, Public conveyance, Libraries, Railway stations, Cinema halls, Shopping malls, Theatres, etc

There happens to be designated zones for smoking in restaurants, hotels, airport lounges, pub etc. However, no restrictions are exercised in open places like market, parking spaces, parks and roads.

The law amendments that have been proposed

The current anti-smoking legislation includes;

  • Prohibiting sales of cigarette that are loose
  • To raise minimum age number from 18 to 21 yrs when it comes to buying tobacco
  • Also to increase the cost of the fine on smoking, if being done in public spaces to 1000/-
  • To remove the designated zones for smoking in hotels and restaurants as it serves no purpose to protect non-smokers.

The scenario

This programme of anti-smoking, as expected, has not really been enforced properly and effectively in the country. According to the research done by the Euromonitor International, around 70% cigarettes in India are loosely sold. It also happens to be the major reason for death in this country. Moreover, people here are willingly agreeing to pay the required fine but are not ready to avoid smoking tobacco in prohibited spaces.

Why are the amendments in law necessary?

  1. More than packets, loose cigarettes are being sold largely, which means they are cheaper and easily available; hence ban on these is a must.
  2. Also no differentiation could be made between 14 or 18 year old, hence raise the age bar to 21, moreover, penalty cost should be increased as people easily pay the amount for it.
  3. Also, designated tobacco or e-cigarettes zone should become limited.