Punjab first in country to ban sale of loose tobacco items


Punjab government today said that it has completely banned the sale of loose cigarettes and other tobacco items as they do not bear the statutory pictorial health warning message.

An official spokesperson of the government said all the deputy commissioners have been directed to ensure strict implementation of the government directive.

The decision to this effect is taken as the loose items do not have the required pictorial health warnings on them, which was mandatory under section 7 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003).

They have been especially asked to keep a close vigil near educational institutions, colleges and coaching institutes, schools, factories, offices and ensure complete ban on sale of single stick cigarettes and all kinds of tobacco products within 100 yards of these institutions.

Anybody violating the directive would be dealt with strictly, he added.

He also said that nicotine in chemical form in the form of e-cigarette has already been declared as illegal.

Special district-level task force has been constituted that would conduct surprise raids in all the districts to ensure strict compliance of the orders.

Alarming figures

  • The total economic costs attributable to tobacco use from all diseases in 2011 was a staggering Rs 1,04,500 crore
  • It was 12 % more than the combined state and central government expenditure on healthcare the same year
  • Cardiovascular diseases shared the highest burdenat Rs 3,600 crore
  • Government data shows 37% children are initiated into smoking before the age of 10