Himachal Pradesh on 2 July 2013 was declared as the first Smoke-free state of the country. The declaration was made in compliance to Section 4 of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003.
Himachal Pradesh achieved 85.42 percent compliance with the relevant parameters to be declared as the smoke-free state.
To eliminate use of tobacco products in the state, taxes on bidis and cigarettes in the state was raised from 11 and 18 percent to 22 and 36 percent, respectively in the 2013-14 State Budget.
Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003
The Union Government armed itself with a comprehensive Act named the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA, 2003) to control tobacco industry, which is responsible for the deaths of thousands annually in India and worldwide. The Act is applicable to all products containing tobacco in any form and it extends to whole of India. The act is comprehensive however there are a few loopholes that have been discussed below.
Prohibition on smoking in public places - Section 4 of Tobacco Control Act, 2003
• Smoking in all Public Places is Prohibited - The term public place is vaguely defined and refers to any place, where public have access, whether as of right or not, and includes auditorium, hospital buildings, railway waiting room, amusement centers, restaurants, public offices, court buildings, educational institutions, libraries, public conveyances and like which are visited by general public but does not include any open space.
• Creation of Smoking Areas - In restaurants, hotels and airports smoking areas are to be physically segregated in such a manner that the air from these areas does not circulate to the non- smoking areas. Another very loosely implemented provision.
• Display of Prominent Non Smoking Signs e.g. "Smoking here is strictly prohibited" is mandatory at all public places.
Prohibition of Advertisement, Promotion and Sponsorship of all Tobacco Products- Section 5 of Tobacco Control Act, 2003
• Both direct & indirect advertisement of tobacco products prohibited in all forms of Audio, Visual and Print Media
• Total ban on sponsoring of any sport and cultural events by cigarette and other tobacco product companies
• No trade mark or brand name of cigarettes or any tobacco product to be promoted in exchange for sponsorship, gift, prize or scholarship
• No person, under contract or otherwise, to promote or agree to promote any tobacco product.
Prohibition on Sale to Minors - Section 6 (a) of Tobacco Control Act, 2003
• Sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 is prohibited.
• The seller (shopkeeper) should ensure that the person who is buying the tobacco product is not a minor.
• A display board to be put up at the point of sale declaring that "sale of tobacco products to minors is prohibited"
Prohibition on Sale to Minors - Section 6 (b) of Tobacco Control Act, 2003
• In order to restrict access of youth for tobacco products, the sale of the tobacco products is prohibited within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institution.
• A display board has to be put up outside the educational institutions declaring the same.
Health warnings on tobacco products packs - Section 7 of Tobacco Control Act, 2003
• All tobacco product packages need to carry prominent and legible health warnings.
• These warning shall also be pictorial in nature.
• The warnings will be given in the same language as given on the pack.
• All imported tobacco products should also carry the specified warnings.
Regulation of contents of Tobacco Products - Section 11 of Tobacco Control Act, 2003
• The Nicotine and Tar contents of all tobacco product must be clearly displayed on the packs
• Producers of tobacco products must ensure that these harmful contents are within maximum permissible limits as prescribed by the rules
• The testing of tobacco products to measure nicotine and tar contents to be done only at Govt. recognized laboratories
Who: Himachal Pradesh
When: 2 July 2013