Tobacco Control Policies in India

Tobacco Control Policies in India

Tobacco consumption is a major health issue in the world. China is the largest consumer of tobacco, followed by India. In India, nearly 25% consume tobacco in some form in urban areas and 38% in rural areas. 

According to WHO, a hundred million premature deaths have taken place due to tobacco in the 20th century. And this figure will rise up to one billion in the 21st century. Some of the immediate harmful effects of consuming tobacco on our health care: 

l  Coronary vessels of the heart get affected. 

l  Cardiovascular diseases like stroke.

l  It also causes high cholesterol and blood pressure.

l  Respiratory diseases like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, Asthma, and Tuberculosis. 

l  The decreased supply of blood to the heart. 

Tobacco control legislation in India

The Government of India has framed tobacco control policies to control the consumption in the country. 

Cigarettes (Regulation of Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act, 1975

l  The act makes it mandatory to display health warnings on the cartons, packets, and even tobacco products advertisements.

l  The act also restricts the trade and commerce in, and production, supply and distribution of, cigarettes and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

l  Penalties can be imposed on the seizure of tobacco if and when the provisions were breached. 

l  The Central Government is empowered to intervene in developing, monitoring, and marketing of the tobacco industry.

However, the act does not cover non-cigarette tobacco products like gutka, cigars, beedis, and cheroots despite strict regulations.

Memorandum issued by the Cabinet Secretariat in 1990

The Cabinet Secretariat took a major decision in the year 1990, which banned tobacco smoking in domestic flights, health care centres, educational institutions, trains, and buses. However, this was an administrative order of the central government, and it lacked clear instructions for its enforcement, and hence it was mostly ineffective.

Prevention of Food Adulteration (Amendment) Act, 1990

This act makes it mandatory to give statutory warnings concerning harmful health effects for eating pan masala and chewing tobacco.

Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 1952

The amendment in the act banned scenes from the cinema where the actors smoked and thereby endorsed and promoted tobacco consumption in any form.

Drugs and Cosmetics (Amendment) Act, 1940

The amendment in the act abolished the use of toothpaste and powders that contained tobacco.

Committee on subordinate legislation, November 1995

The 22nd report Framed under the Cigarettes (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1975 pertaining to Committee on Subordinate Legislation made recommendations to the health ministry. It suggested protecting non-smokers from second-hand smoke or passive smokers. The report advocated stronger laws for electronic media while also spreading awareness regarding tobacco smoking's health hazards. 

The Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Act, 2000

The act abolished any tobacco products' use or consumption in the advertisement on any cable television, state-owned publications, and electronic media.

The Cigarettes and other tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 

This act is currently the prevalent law in India. Major provisions are: 

l  Smoking in public places is banned.

l  This act bans advertisements of tobacco products.

l  Ban on sale on Tobacco products to minors below 18 years of age.

l  The packaging of all Tobacco products should mandatorily show pictorial health warnings on smoking.

l  Tobacco products cannot be sold within the area of 100 yards of any educational institution.

l  It is compulsory to test the tar and nicotine content of any tobacco product.