Even a month after the Punjab government banned the sale of loose cigarettes and tobacco, it has failed to enforce it properly.
On January 6, Punjab became the first state in the country to impose such a ban.
The sale of loose cigarettes and tobacco is going on as usual and the State Tobacco Control Cell has failed to take action against even a single violator. It is common to find vendors selling loose cigarettes and tobacco almost in all districts.
Dr Rakesh K Gupta, state programme officer, Tobacco Control Cell, Punjab, confirmed that they had not taken action against any violator. “Our campaign against loose cigarettes is still at the awareness level. We are asking district administrations to hold meetings with wholesalers so that they can be sensitised,” said Dr Gupta.
Section 7 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act prohibits any trade in cigarettes or other tobacco products unless every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco products sold, supplied or distributed bears thereon, or on its label, the specified warning, including pictorial warning.
According to experts, loose cigarettes are affordable and do not carry a pictorial or written warning, so the order will help decrease the prevalence of consumption among the youth.
According to the market research firm Euromonitor International India, 70% of the cigarettes in India are sold loose.