Bangalore: The Himachal Pradesh government will soon impose a ban on sale of loose cigarettes and also enhance value-added tax (VAT) on tobacco products, Health Minister Kaul Singh said Thursday.

“The state is making concerted efforts on tobacco control for which an institutional mechanism has been created. An enforcement squad has been notified,” Singh said at a conference on tobacco control organised by health department of government of Karnataka here.

The minister said more than 3,000 gram panchayats of Himachal Pradesh had passed resolutions to participate in effective tobacco control campaign.

“We are the first state in the country to ensure effective ban on advertisements of tobacco products,” he added.

“The state,” he said, “banned the sale, storage and distribution of tobacco-based products in October 2012.”

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