Govt. to bar tobacco shops from selling colas, candies
The Union health ministry has proposed that tobacco sellers should register with local civic authorities and stop selling candies and cold drinks which could attract non-smokers to their stores. The ministry has requested states to create a mechanism through which municipal authorities would register retail shops selling tobacco products. The move is aimed at reducing tobacco use, especially among youth.
"The sale of tobacco products to minors must be tracked and there should be no advertisement of tobacco products. These shops must not sell non-tobacco products such as toffees, candies, chips, biscuits, soft drinks, etc. that may attract non-users," the health ministry said.
For years, activists have lobbied for stronger restrictions, causing authorities to roll-out new curbs. The government has hiked taxes on tobacco products to deter sales. Additionally, the government has restricted advertising for tobacco products. Product packaging also features larger textual and pictorial health warnings depicting how tobacco-use causes cancer. Selling or giving tobacco to children can attract up to seven years of rigorous imprisonment.
A new government survey has found that every fifth adult in India is addicted to gutkha and khaini, while 100 million people smoke cigarettes and bidis. Around 10 million people die annually in India from smoking-related diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).