Legal Age For Smoking In India To Be Raised; Know The Details

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New Delhi: The legal age of smoking in India is likely to be raised to 21 years soon.

The Union government has drafted a bill, the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Act, 2020, whereby it proposes to raise the age for allowing sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to 21 years from the current 18.

The bill, being piloted by Union Health Ministry, further seeks to amend the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

“No person shall sell, offer for sale, or permit sale of, cigarette or any other tobacco product — (a) to or by any person who is under 21 years of age, and in an area within a radius of 100 metres of any educational institution,” as per the proposed amendment.

Section 7 of the above act is being proposed to be amended as: “Provided that the trade and commerce in cigarette or any other tobacco product shall be in sealed, intact and original packaging… No person shall, directly or indirectly, produce, supply or distribute cigarettes or any other tobacco products unless every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco products produced, supplied or distributed by him is having minimum quantity as may be prescribed.”

If Section 7 is violated, it will lead to imprisonment of two years or fine up to Rs 1 lakh, while a second conviction will result in prison term for 5 years or fine up to Rs 5 lakh.

There also be a provision for penalizing manufacture and sale of illicit cigarettes and tobacco products.

While sale of illicit products will lead to punishment of imprisonment of 1 year and a fine of Rs 50,000 and a second conviction of imprisonment of 2 years and Rs 1 lakh. The fine on manufacture of illicit cigarettes is imprisonment of 2 years and fine of Rs 1 lakh.

Penalty for smoking in restricted areas will be increased from Rs 200 to Rs 2,000.

As for advertisements on cigarette and other tobacco products, the amendment states: “No person shall directly or indirectly advertise cigarettes or any other tobacco products through any medium and no person shall take part in any advertisement that directly or indirectly promote the use or consumption of cigarettes or any other tobacco products.”

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