Sale of tobacco products near smoking lounges in airports illegal: health ministry
An estimated 275 million Indians use tobacco in any form, and about 10 lakh die due to tobacco-related illnesses each year.health Updated: Jun 10, 2017 21:36 IST
Union ministry of health has written to civil aviation ministry, asking it to ensure tobacco shops at any airports are not located near smoking rooms.
They have also been asked to ensure that shops selling tobacco products prominently display the signage— “sale of tobacco products to a person below the age of eighteen years is a punishable offence”.
The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003(COTPA, 2003), was introduced in 2004 with an aim to discourage the use of consumption of tobacco products.
“It has been observed that the provisions of COTPA,’ 2003 and the enabling rules are being violated at the Airports, by shops selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. These shops in contravention of the provisions of COTPA, display tobacco advertisements and are located just outside the smoking room or in food courts, thus facilitating tobacco use and also enticing non-smokers especially children to these shops and to the smoking room,” says an excerpt from the letter.
The letter further says that in certain airports, tobacco products are also sold from shops selling souvenir, food articles, books, and comics etc., thus enabling easy access to non-smokers especially children to these shops and tobacco products. These shops also do not display the warning sign.
“Yes we wrote last month to the civil aviation ministry because if the guidelines are not followed then it means these are running illegally as they tend to promote smoking. We are hoping for a positive response,” said a senior health ministry official.
“They should also not sell non tobacco products as these help in attracting non-smokers, especially children. Our aim is to discourage use of tobacco products as it a major health hazard.”
The ministry last month had also issued a notification against serving hookahs in dinning areas in restaurants and hotels.
Tobacco related diseases kills about 2500 Indians each day, and more than 10 lakh Indians annually.