The union ministry of health and family welfare has said that shops licensed to sell tobacco products will not be allowed to sell any non-tobacco products that may attract the attention of children. The move is aimed at preventing exposure of children to tobacco products.
“It is felt that the regulation of tobacco products can be made more effective. It will be appropriate to develop a mechanism to provide permission or authorisation through municipal authority to the retail shops who are selling tobacco products,” stated Arun Kumar Jha, economic adviser in the ministry of health and family welfare, in a letter dated 21 September 2017.
“Further, it would also be appropriate to make a condition or provision in the authorisation that the shops authorised for selling tobacco products cannot sell any non-tobacco products such as toffees, candies, chips, biscuits, soft drinks, etc., which are essentially meant for non-user, especially children,” Jha said in the letter.
The health ministry also emphasised on various rules and regulations in place to prevent tobacco exposure. The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA), specifically prohibits smoking in all public places, prohibition of direct and indirect advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of cigarettes and other tobacco products, prohibition of sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors and within 100 yards of any educational institution, and display of health warning, including pictorial warning on ill effects of tobacco use on the packages of all tobacco products.
“The central government has enacted the Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulations of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), to discourage the use of tobacco, with emphasis on protection of children and young people from being addicted to the use of tobacco, with a view to achieve improvement of public health in general,” stated Jha.
The central government has also enacted the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which makes giving, or causing to be given, any child any tobacco products punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend up to seven years.