Selling cigarettes or chewable tobacco products to minors will invite a jail term of up to seven years and a Rs 1 lakh fine from Friday onwards.
The provisions are part of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 cleared by Parliament last month and set to be notified on Friday. The law dealing with underage offenders also paves the way for trying those between 16 and 18 years of age accused of heinous crimes as adults, punishable with a jail term of up to seven years.
To shield minors from the harmful effects of smoking and tighten the noose around those selling pan masala, gutka and cigarettes to children, the government has for the first time made providing tobacco products to children under 18 years a serious criminal offence. The old Juvenile Justice Act only covered liquor and narcotics.
The p re s e n t C i g a re t t e s and Other Tobacco Product (Prohibition of Advertisement & Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act prohibits the sale of cigarettes or other tobacco products to people below 18 years and in areas within a 100- metre radius of educational institutions.
The penalty for violation, however, is not stringent – a fine of Rs 200 and up to three months in jail.
Similarly, giving drugs or psychotropic substances to minors is an offence under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. But it does not include tobacco products.