Issue license to tobacco retailers: NLSIU report
Guwahati: Adopting a licensing system for the sale of cigarettes, bidis, chewing tobacco products will regulate their accessibility and facilitate effective enforcement of tobacco control laws and policies, recommended the National Law school of India University.
In a report submitted to the Union Health Ministry on February 25, the premier institution recommended that retailers and wholesalers should provide a license to sell tobacco products which will help protect people from becoming addicted to tobacco products.
Titled as, “Framework for Implementation of Tobacco Vendor Licensing in India”, the report put forward a model vendor licensing framework and said that licensing sellers is critical to regulate accessibility to tobacco products.
The report, released by the Chair on Consumer Law and Practice, examined the practice and procedure on vendor licensing adopted by various states and cities in India.
“The NLSU report has recommended a model legal framework for sale of tobacco products and we hope that state and municipal governments will consider these recommendations to safeguard Indians especially children and youth from these killer products,” Prof Ashok R Patil, Professor of Law/Research Head, NLSIU, the Chair on Consumer Law and Practice, Bengaluru, in a press release said.
Advocate Ajoy Hazarika, Secretary, Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam said “It is imperative to make tobacco products inaccessible to youth and children to save them from a lifetime of misery and suffering. Regulating the sale, marketing, and use of these addictive products is critical to check the tobacco epidemic in India, especially during these challenging times. Sale of tobacco products through authorized, licensed shops/ vendors will promote health and fulfil a core government function of advancing public health, safety, and wellbeing for people of Assam”.
India has the second largest number of tobacco users (268 million or 28.6% of all adults in India) in the world – of these at least 1.2 million die every year from tobacco related diseases. One million deaths are due to smoking, with over 200,000 due to secondhand smoke exposure, and over 35,000 are due to smokeless tobacco use. Nearly 27% of all cancers in India are due to tobacco usage. The total direct and indirect cost of diseases attributable to tobacco use was a staggering Rupees 182,000 crore which is nearly 1.8% of India’s GDP.