Delhi government is planning to ban the sale of cigarettes, bidis and all other tobacco products on the last day of every month.
“We are in the process of declaring the last day of every month a ‘dry day’ for tobacco products. No vendor will be allowed to sell them that day,” said Dr NV Kamat, director, health services, Delhi government.
“We are in the process of increasing VAT on tobacco products. It will take time but will be implemented soon,” he added.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified tobacco as a confirmed carcinogen. It contains 3,095 chemicals of which 28 are proven carcinogens. Tobacco use annually kills one million people in India, which is a sixth of the world’s tobacco-related deaths.
Smoking causes or aggravates most diseases of the heart, liver and lungs such as heart attack, stroke, chronic obstructive lung disease and cancers, particularly of the lung, larynx, oral cavity and pancreas.
The Delhi government has made it mandatory for all public transport, such as autos and taxis, to display stickers and signages, stating that smoking on board will not be allowed. Such messages are already displayed in the Metro and buses.
The decision was taken in a review meeting of the state coordination committee for tobacco control where Delhi chief secretary SK Srivastava said Delhi should be made a tobacco-free state.
Delhi banned smoking in public places on October 2, 2008. Since then, 6,425 tobacco vendors have been fined and 3.94 lakh challans issued for smoking in public place and public transport, says DHS data. More than ` 56 lakh has been collected as fines since 2008.
Srivastava also wants a stop to the mushrooming of hookah bars, stringent implementation of the ban on selling tobacco to minors and a restriction on display of advertisements, both direct and surrogate, of tobacco products, especially in inter-state bus services.
The secretary has also the food safety commissioner to take necessary steps to completely ban chewing tobacco in Delhi.