Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Legal age for #smoking to be raised to 25 yrs; expert panel recommends

An expert panel headed by the Delhi government's former principal secretary Ramesh Chandra set up by the health ministry has submitted its report to the health ministry last week. It has made proposals for amending the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA).

As per the new amendments proposed by the panel is blanket ban on ban on sale of loose cigarettes. Legal age for smoking to be increased from 18 to 25 years, doubling of the pictorial coverage of warning message displayed on the cigarette packets from 40 per cent to 80 percent are some of the other recommendations made by the expert panel to bring down the smoking population in this country. It has also made recommendations to ban e-cigarettes. Union Government is currently preparing a Cabinet note based on the recommendations of the panel. It these recommendations are accepted and implemented by amending the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA), cigarette manufacturing companies like ITC and Godfrey Phillips are likely to be affected.
A study by Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health, in collaboration with the ministry of health done in 2011 had found that bidis and other forms of tobacco (supari, gutkha, among others) are more harmful than cigarettes. But successive governments have failed to curb the bedi smoking habits among Indian citizens.