The government, on 13 January, proposed to amend the anti-smoking law, which recommends a ban on selling loose cigarettes and increasing the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 years from the existing 18 years. “No person shall sell, offer for sale, or permit sale of, cigarettes or any other tobacco products loose or in single sticks to any person who is under 21 years of age; employ, engage or use any person who is under 18 years of age in cultivation, processing, sale of tobacco or tobacco products,” says the proposed bill.
The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution (Amendment) Bill 2015 — COTPA Bill 2015 — also proposes a complete removal of designated smoking areas from hotels and restaurants. However, international airports may have designated smoking areas as long as they are “located, ventilated in such a manner that smoke from the smoking area does not permeate the non-smoking area”.
The bill also seeks to impose a more stringent fine for smoking in public places by increasing the fine to Rs 1000 from the existing Rs 200. It also proposes to ban on-site advertising of tobacco products. This means that shops selling cigarettes and other tobacco products will no longer be able to display brand names. As part of the pre-legislative consultative process, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has now put the bill in the public domain and has invited comments and views from stakeholders. The bill is open to comments till 15 February 2015.