Anti-smoking law was proposed to amendment by the government recommending a ban on sale of loose cigarettes and raising the minimum age for buying tobacco products to 21 years from existing 18.
It has also proposed raising of fine to Rs.1000 from Rs.200 on smoking in public places as well as recommending removal of designated smoking zones in hotels and restaurants.
AdvertisementHealth Minister JP Nadda had told Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session that his Ministry had accepted the recommendations of the committee formed to review the existing Act, and a draft note for the Cabinet was circulated for inter-ministerial consultation.
"No person shall sell, offer for sale, or permit sale of, cigarettes or any other tobacco products loose or in single sticks to any person who is under 21 years of age; employ, engage or use any person who is under 18 years of age in cultivation, processing, sale of tobacco or tobacco products," according to the proposed bill.
"It will ensure protection of the future generation from the hazards of tobacco products." The bill also proposes special session courts for the trial of offences under it. It will increase reporting of violation, filing of complaints, expedite trial of offences and ensure effective implementation of the law, it says.
"The said amendment bill along with the notes on clauses is placed in public domain as part of pre-legislative consultations with a view to eliciting the comments/views of the stakeholders, including the general public," the Ministry said.
One of the prime objective of the act is to protect non-smokers from involuntary smoking.
Citing the "mushrooming of hookah bars across the country, which attracts the urban youth and led to commercialisation of hookah tobacco which was earlier a cultural practice limited to rural areas", it says the earlier safeguards failed to have a deterrent effect while proposing to ban the practice altogether.
The bill, though, allows smoking at designated places in international airports. It also calls for setting up of an autonomous National Tobacco Control Organisation to implement and monitor its provisions.