The expert committee that was set up by the Health Ministry for suggesting amendments in the Tobacco Regulation Act is likely to propose the minimum age for smoking to be increased to 25 years from 18 years.
Deciding to maintain a reasonable level, the committee has also favoured the raising of fines for tobacco related offences which includes smoking in public.
However, the final draft of the amendments to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003 has not been prepared yet.
The former Delhi health secretary Ramesh Chandra, who is heading the committee, has told that the report will be ready by next week.
One of the member of the committee said “we are in favour of raising the minimum age for smoking to 25 years. We also want fines for tobacco-related offences to be raised and among the suggestions that we have received is one that says that the fine for smoking in public should be Rs 20,000. We have not taken a call on what that amount should be but we understand that proposing an amount that is not practical will only cause the government to reject that recommendation. We do not want that. We also want the sale of loose cigarettes to be stopped and the size of the pictorial warning to be raised”.
A member of the committee said “The final shape of the report is being decided in consultation with the ministry representative”.
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News source: indianexpress.com
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