Free Press Journal

Sale of loose cigarettes banned in state


Mumbai : Sale of loose cigarettes and bidis will be banned under Legal Metrology Act which states that no tobacco product can be sold without mandatory display as prescribed by the Act. Amitabh Gupta, Legal Metrology Officer of Maharashtra, had sent letters to all the cigarette and bidi manufacturers to comply with the amended Legal Metrology Act that was notified in May 2015.

Section 18 of Legal Metrology Act lays down that no person shall manufacture, pack, sell, import, distribute, deliver, offer, expose or possess for sale any pre-packaged commodity unless such package is in such standard quantities or number.

As per the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, 2009, 14.6% of the youth in the age group of 13-15 years in India consume tobacco in some form or other and more than 5500 children/adolescents start tobacco consumption daily.

Loose sale encourages sale of tobacco products especially to children by increasing susceptibility of minors to buy tobacco products.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor and Surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital said “Considering the prevalence of tobacco use especially amongst children and youth of this country and the burden on the public to control its menace, there is an urgent need to curb any activity that may result in promotion of its use and any effort that may undermine or contravene laws such as Cigarettes and other tobacco products Act (COTPA), 2003 or Legal Metrology Act 2015 enacted specifically to discourage tobacco use.”

Experts state that the consumer does not feel the pinch of price rice due to increase in taxes when he buys the tobacco products individually or loose instead of the whole pack. Lack of pictorial warning on lose cigarettes deprives the buyer of the impactful information about harmful effects of tobacco. Though, sale of lose cigarette/bidi should be prohibited for violating section 7/8 of Cigarettes and other tobacco products Act, it has not been enforced till now.