Like alcohol, the legal age for buying and using tobacco products may soon be increased from 18 to 25, if the union health ministry has its way. It is also looking at increasing cigarette prices by a whopping 10% to decrease consumption and increase government revenue.
“Since the age of selling tobacco varies from one state to another, we will write to each state government to increase the age for buying tobacco to 25,” said Luv Verma, union health secretary at the release of “An Empirical Study of India’s Fiscal Policies against Tobacco: A State Level Analysis’ — a study by the Public Health Foundation of India.
He added that state governments will be responsible for implementing the move.
The study reported that a 10% increase in cigarette prices will lead to almost a 3% decrease in consumption, increasing the government revenue by 7%.
“Based on the recommendations, we will make a strong case for increasing taxation on tobacco,” said Verma.
He also slammed the tobacco promotion board and said that better coordination is required between ministries.
“The commerce ministry’s tobacco promotion board is a ridiculous thing. While we are condemning the use of tobacco products, how can they promote it? I will speak to my counterpart in the commerce ministry and see what can be done about it,” he said.