The amended COPTA will include new provisions, such as a ban on the sale of loose cigarettes and heavy fines for violation of rules. The aim is to make it more effective and more in line with WHO FCTC guidelines.
India’s Drugs Technical Advisory Board has put forward plans to prohibit the sale, manufacture, import and distribution of all ENDS.
The Union Health Ministry had proposed a number of amendments to the 2003 legislation and in 2015, presented the draft of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Bill in the public domain. This amendment was withdrawn in 2017 in order to have it revised and improved.
The current penalty for smoking in restricted areas is up to Rs 200, while the the earlier draft proposed increasing the fine amount to Rs 1,000. Additionally it suggested banning on-site advertising of tobacco products and removing designated smoking areas from hotels, restaurants and airports.
Last year, Nasha Mukti Abhiyan Task Force was was nominated as the health ministry’s chairperson, additional secretary and mission director of the National Health Mission, in order to formulate a detailed preventive and promotive care strategy, for addressing tobacco, alcohol and substance abuse.
The National Health Policy 2017 of the Indian government identifies coordinated action on “addressing tobacco, alcohol and substance abuse” as one of the seven priority areas outlined in a bid to improve the environment for health.
Vaping Products Could Soon Be Classified as Drugs
Meanwhile last June, the Press Trust of India, reported that the Drugs Technical Advisory Board of India has put forward plans to prohibit the sale, manufacture, import and distribution of all ENDS, under Sections 26A and 10A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. The proposal states that, “After revisiting its earlier deliberations, the Drugs Consultative Committee has recommended that concluded that these devices fall under the definition of ‘drug’.
Moreover, this move comes highly recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) who has recommended a “complete ban” on ENDS, saying such devices become a gateway to smoking and can get a non-smoker addicted to nicotine. Such a statement is ironic to say the least, when the devices proven to be safer alternatives are being banned but the actual products that are toxic: cigarettes, remain untouched and widely available throughout the country.
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