With Punjab becoming the first state to ban sale of loose cigarettes across the state, the administration on Thursday held a meeting to discuss about drives that will be carried out to implement the ban.
Deputy commissioner (DC) Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu, who chaired the meeting, discussed the issue with market representatives and hotel/restaurant association members.
The DC office gave out directions that no hotels, markets and even restaurants were allowed to sell loose cigarettes.
During the meeting, heads from different departments, and those in business were also told that the orders should be implemented strictly. Sidhu said that a review report on the ban needed to be submitted with the DC office so that further action could be taken.
The DC also clarified that those found selling loose cigarettes will be fined Rs 200 per offence and also could be taken into custody, adding there was also ban on putting up tobacco related posters. Those found doing so would be fined Rs 1,000 and could face up to 2 years in prison.
It is worth mentioning that the Punjab health department has banned the sale of loose cigarettes (as single sticks) and loose tobacco. In a notification issued on January 6, the state government said the ban had been issued as the sale is in violation of Section 7 of the COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products, Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution Act, 2003).
Section 7 of COTPA prohibits any trade or commerce in cigarettes or any other tobacco products unless every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco products sold, supplied or distributed carries specified warning including pictorial warning.