Free Press Journal

IMA welcomes decision of harsh penalty on sale of tobacco to minors


Indore : Indian Medical Association welcomed the amendments in the Juvenile Justice Act, especially over the decision to impose harsh penalty on the sale of tobacco products to minors on Wednesday.

The umbrella association of doctors said that the new Act will save the future generations from the lethal habit of consuming tobacco and its products.

National Chairman of IMA-Cancer and Tobacco Control Committee, Dr Dilip Acharya said that the decision of the government to impose harsh penalty on the sale of tobacco products to minors is a landmark step which will have long term beneficial implications.

“Nearly 27.5 crores Indians are using tobacco and a vast majority of them start the habit in their childhood. As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey, the age of initiation of tobacco habits in India is 17 years and the Global Youth Tobacco survey states that up to 20 percent of children in our country are consumers of tobacco in any form,” Dr Acharya said.

He added that more than 5500 children /adolescents start tobacco consumption daily and the step taken by the government will prove a milestone for the children. This Act will save our future generations from this lethal habit.

The new act has been imposed from January 15 and it recognizes the harmful effects of tobacco and tobacco industry’s sinister design to specifically target vulnerable children as their new consumers. In a path breaking amendment to curb the growing menace of tobacco, the Act has modified section 77 as, “it is an offence against a child, if a person gives or causes to be given, to any child any intoxicating liquor or any narcotic drug or tobacco products or psychotropic substance, except on the order of a duly qualified medical practitioner, shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to a fine which may extend up to one lakh rupees.”

Surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi said, “The earlier law called Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 miserably failed to protect the sale to minors because the fine imposed was only 200 rupees.”

He said that with this Act, India has becomes the only nation in the entire world to impose such a harsh penalty for selling to minors and selling by minors. It is proven beyond doubt that tobacco kills every third user prematurely through cancer, heart disease, stroke and other diseases.