From banning smoking in public there may be a ban on loose cigarettes before the announcement of the Union Budget 2023-24
If the government acts on the recommendation of the standing committee there may be a ban on the sale and manufacture of loose cigarettes. A similar thing happened three years ago, in September 2019, the government put a ban on e-cigarettes as per the advice of the Health Ministry, due to the dangers to health it poses.
The standing committee of India has recommended a ban on the sale of loose or single cigarettes. As Committee suggested that the sale of loose cigarettes is affecting the tobacco control campaign and also to remove smoking zones from the airport.
Observations by the Standing committee tobacco based product
- Since the implementation of GST in 2017, there hasn’t been an increase in the tax rate of tobacco-based products.
- The committee highlighted the risk of cancer and death for those who smoke or chew tobacco.
- As per tax slabs, smokeless tobacco products have a 64% tax, while cigarettes have a 53% tax levied on them.
- World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that a 75% tax should be imposed on tobacco products by the Indian government.
- Nearly 3.5 lakh people die due to smoking cigarettes.
- Among the smokers, 16% were college-going students and nearly 46% were illiterate- according to the survey done by India’s national council of applied economics research.
Cigarette sales and shares remain high
Ban on selling loose cigarettes won’t be effective
According to a study, nearly 75% of cigarettes are sold loosely, based on a popular deduction that cigarettes are affordable when purchased singly. Researchers think that ban on the sale of loose cigarettes can be deemed as positive. But despite the imminent ban the share of the cigarette manufacturing company- Godfrey Philips, VST, ITC- hit a high.
Due to the rise in the death rate by cancer from smoking, public smoking is banned in India and for breaking this rule there is a fine of Rs. 200. More importantly, there should be a rule that cigarettes or any tobacco-based products should not be sold to minors, to prevent children from starting smoking- as a study suggest that nearly 1/5 teenagers smoke in India, some of them before reaching the age of 10.