Nine years after its enactment, the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, (COTPA), 2003, it seems, would be enforced in letter and spirit.
On Monday, India supported 175 other countries in adopting illicit tobacco trade protocol as part of the global tobacco treaty called the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The treaty, according to experts, envisages an international tracking system, which aims to halt smuggling and counterfeiting of tobacco products, hence regulating the ban on consumption as well.
"Though we have a law like COPTA but it has not been enforced completely. Further it does not adhere to international guidelines for tobacco control setup by WHO," Bobby Ramakant, antitobacco activist, said explaining the significance of the development.
The FCTC guidelines were adopted during the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP5) held in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The event will conclude on November 17.
"On most of the occasions, antitobacco laws are violated. Now, COPTA will be governed by new FCTC guidelines, hence will have more teeth," Ramakant added.
The treaty further assumes significance given the fact that this time around there were no negotiations with tobacco product growers. This is happening for the first time and can bear positive result as far as controlling tobacco production is concerned, he added.
Elaborating, Rahul Dwivedi, another anti-tobacco activist, said, "The protocol gives signatory states five years to establish a tracking and tracing mechanism on cigarettes and every other tobacco product. The system will use non-removable markings and will be coordinated globally to detect illegal tobacco trading."