New Delhi: India plans to set up a regulator to enforce restrictions on tobacco usage, such as banning smoking in public places, making pictorial warnings on cigarette packets mandatory and prohibiting tobacco sales near schools, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said.
Rs.Setting up a National Regulatory Authority for monitoring the enforcement efforts is proposed,’’ Ramadoss told a gathering in New Delhi yesterday, according to the text of a speech posted on the government’s website. Rs.My ministry is actively advocating with other stakeholder ministries for implementing effective tobacco control taxation and pricing policies.’’
The government from 1 June will make it compulsory for cigarette packets to carry pictorial warnings. This will follow the ban on tobacco advertising and proposals to restrict the display of tobacco products and smoking in movies to discourage the habit. Smoking is not allowed in public places such as airports and railway stations.
Rs.Many of the provisions of the tobacco control rules have been challenged in the court and there is a lot of opposition from tobacco growers but we are going to steadfastly advance the tobacco control agenda in India,’’ Ramadoss said. Rs.Rs.We must envisage the cities of Delhi and Mumbai going smoke-free by 2009.’
As many as 900,000 people die every year in India due to tobacco-related diseases, India’s ministry of health and family welfare says on its website.
Indians smoke 103.26 billion cigarettes annually, according to the Tobacco Board of India. China consumes about 1.7 trillion cigarettes a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
A majority of Indian tobacco users don’t smoke cigarettes. They chew tobacco or smoke bidis, which consists of tobacco hand-rolled in leaves of the Coromandel ebony plant, known locally as tendu. Cigarettes account for 14% of total tobacco consumption, the Tobacco Institute of India said.