Tobacco use by adults below 25 may soon become illegal

Government mulls changes in law to prevent surrogate ads by tobacco companies

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Tuesday 19 August 2014


Adults aged below 25 years, who are in the habit of smoking or using other tobacco products, take heed. In the near future, the law could well stop them from buying and consuming tobacco products.

The Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is mulling an increase in the minimum age limit for tobacco consumption.
At present, the age limit is 18. The government is considering increasing it to 25.

What's more, the government is also considering ways to restrict surrogate advertisements of tobacco companies. Though Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, restricts surrogate advertisement of tobacco companies but it has been seen that these companies manage to bypass it.

Committee set up

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has constituted a committee to look into existing problems in COTPA and recommend measures to strengthen it. The committee is supposed to submit its report in September.

Sources in the health ministry said that the committee is also looking at how smoking in public places could be stopped. Though the law does not permit it, implementation of COTPA is a problem.

Last week, the Supreme Court also issued notice to the Central and state governments, seeking their response on public interest petition that wants total ban on tobacco consumption.

The petitioner had argued that the money spent on the treatment of smoking-related ailments comes to around Rs 30,000 crore per year. The argument that tobacco industry brings revenue does not hold good when one also takes into account the harm it does.
There is a ban on using tobacco products to some extent. It began with banning its use near school premises. Later, the government also banned smoking in public places.

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