Central government steps up to prohibit children’s access to tobacco products

In order to achieve the objective of preventing children and non-tobacco users from the exposure to tobacco products, the Union Ministry of Health has sent a letter to all the state governments asking them to license the sale of tobacco products

Central government steps up to prohibit children's access to tobacco products

Taking a step forward in the prohibition of tobacco consumption by children, the Union Ministry of Health has sent a letter to all the state governments asking them to develop the mechanism to prevent children from getting exposed to the sale of tobacco. It has asked local administrative bodies to make condition or provision while issuing licenses, that the shops selling tobacco products cannot sell any non-tobacco products such as toffees, candies, chips, biscuits, etc.

This decision is considered important to block children’s access to tobacco products and hence preventing the tobacco addiction amongst them.

“Currently, the shopkeepers purposefully store these products that lure kids to get exposed to tobacco and some of them tend to start using tobacco products. Such an action will prevent mushrooming of unauthorized shops and shrewd marketing of tobacco to kids,” said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, an Anti-Tobacco Activist, Professor and Surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital while talking on this matter.

“Essentially, the Ministry desires to license the sale of tobacco through authorized vendors only. In such case, the sale of candies/chocolates/biscuits would lead to cancellation of license,” Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi added further.

In the letter, the Union Health Ministry specifically mentioned that ‘the regulation of tobacco products can be made more effective with the development of a mechanism to provide permission/authorization through Municipal Authority to the retail shops who are selling tobacco products.’

Ashima Sarin, Director of Sambandh Health Foundation based in Gurgaon applauded the Health Ministry’s step to curb initiation of tobacco consumption. “It is a welcome step in restricting children’s access to tobacco products. It’s better to prevent children from consuming tobacco products than later telling them to quit tobacco. De-addiction rate is very low,” said Ashima Sarin.