The Central Government is giving serious thoughts about imposing fines ranging from Rs. 200 to Rs. 20,000 for smoking in public places.
The government has decided to impose strict laws to curb the menace of smoking, which causes deadly diseases like cancer and heart attack. The proposal is likely to be presented during the winter sessions of the Parliament. An expert committee, chaired by the former Chief Secretary of Delhi administration, Ramesh Chandra, was formed in this regard. The committee has submitted its report and recommendations to the Ministry of health and sanitation last week.
The recommendations presented by the Committee include –
Breaking the cigarette packs and sale of one or two cigarettes should be banned.
The minimum age of smokers must be raised from 18 to 25.
Smoking in public places must be declared as criminal offence and violators must be made to pay penalty of Rs. 200 to Rs. 20,000.
Penalty amount for manufacturers who do not print the statutory warning message on the packets must be raised from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 50,000.
Advertisements of tobacco products must be prohibited at the place of sale.
It was found that nearly 70% of the cigarettes sold at retail outlets are from broken packets. Smokers, instead of buying the entire packet, purchase one or two cigarettes from the shops.
There is a general feeling that the Government must pay similar attention to the alcohol problem too.