Anti-smoking Laws in India

17 Mar 2023  Read 2272 Views

If you’re a movie fan, we’ll assume you all know Mukesh! His disease scares the hell out of people but do we all know the consequences and laws regarding his smoking habits? Some consequences are displayed in the visuals but what about the history, laws and other important information? If you don’t wanna be the next Mukesh.. Keep on surfing the blog!!

“Smoking is injurious to Health”

A statement which is written in all packets of cigarettes but still its consumption is shaking India’s population. Do you know where it all started?

So back in 1605, Portuguese people introduced Tobacco Cultivation in India. Initially, Kaira and Mehsana district of Gujarat and later spreaded over the rest of the country.

Seven species of Nicotiana were imported from America in 1814 and cultivated in botanical gardens of Calcutta

A model farm was formed at Pusa, Bihar for curing and growing tobacco.Various trials were held to meet the requirements of UK cigarette factories 

After the 1960s, Virginia tobacco cultivation and experiments were started in Pusa and Ghazipur (UP). Commercial cultivation was started in the year 1920. After 1930, India mapped its place on the World tobacco map. During 1936, IARI formed a Cigarette Tobacco Research Station at Guntur. The excise duty or taxes were introduced in the year 1943-44, since then the tobacco industry has been contributing a large amount of revenue in the country.   

Taxes on Smoking Products

  • The cost of 1 packet of cigarettes is Rs. 330 (20 sticks) which consists of more than 50% tax component in it that the government is entitled to.

  • The tobacco products fall under the highest GST slab of 28% in India and entice additional taxes.

  • Apart from GST, the government puts additional taxes on tobacco products, which concludes to 52.5%. 

  • According to the National Health Mission, India is one of the countries which signed the WHO convention on tobacco control, which recommends at least 75% tax on the retail price of tobacco products including cigarettes. However, India does not impose the standard tax set by WHO. Well, is it good or bad for India, only time will tell!

  • The Union Budget 2023- 24 declared by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hiked the taxes on tobacco through an increase in National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) on cigarettes.

*Did you know that NCCD is considered a sin tax imposed on products or services that are harmful to the public. The main aim is to reduce the consumption by increasing the price of harmful products.

The Laws

There is a full-fledged act to combat smoking activities by the public. Firstly, the Cigarettes (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1975 was enacted which made it mandatory for all the cigarette packages to display a warning by stating that it is injurious to health.

This act was replaced by Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation to Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) act, 2003 which aimed at protecting citizens from being exposed involuntarily to these harmful smoke. The act aimed at preventing young people get addicted to smoking. 

In a landmark case of Murli S. Deora v. Union Of India, the Supreme Court stated that tobacco and public smoking is a significant health hazard which directly or indirectly resulted in lakhs of death and economic losses.

Smoking in Public Places

  • Section 4 of COTPA prohibits people from smoking at public places.Rule 3 imposes a duty upon the manager, owner, or the person-in-charge of a public place to ensure that nobody is allowed to smoke at that place. 

  • It states that a warning sign should be displayed if such a place exists.  

  • The contact number of a proper authority should be mentioned clearly

  • Hotels with minimum 30 rooms, restaurants with a capacity of 30 people (minimum) and Airports are allowed to have a designated smoking area which should not be at the entrance and exit of such a place.

How can Movies show Smoking scenes?

Every character in TV programmes or movies are not permitted to display tobacco or related products and about their usage. Still, there are certain exemptions to this rule. These are- 

  • There is no retrospective effect 

  • It doesn’t affect the airing of foreign or Indian documentaries which includes a warning related to the use of these products.

Although movies contain a disclaimer about the consequences of using these products, there must be a disclaimer by the actor himself about its usage in the concerned scenes.

The rule is not applicable to live news, sports or cultural events, interviews etc.. (because it is unintentional).

This rule also doesn’t apply to movies or shows where it is necessary to display the products backed up by reasonable justification. 

Ban on Smoking?

Well, in the year 2019, New Zealand put a ban on the consumption and production of cigarettes. As part of a package of new anti-smoking measures approved by the parliament, the next generation of New Zealanders won't be able to purchase cigarettes. According to the new legislation, anyone born after 2008 is prohibited from purchasing a pack of cigarettes or other tobacco products.

Ayesha Verrall, the health minister for New Zealand, introduced the measure. The Health Minister stated that the law was a step "towards a smoke-free future" when introducing it.

Each year fewer people will be able to buy cigarettes as a result of this regulation. For instance, in 2050, those over 40 won't be able to buy cigarettes.

According to a government data, barely 8% of adults in New Zealand smoke every day. This is a very low smoking rate. The Smokefree Environments Bill aims to reduce the percentage to less than 5% by 2025, with the ultimate goal of banning the activity completely.

About the Author: Gurpreet Kaur Dutta | 80 Post(s)

A legal content writer who pursued BBA-LL.B.(H) from Amity University Chhattisgarh. She has a keen interest in corporate and IPR sectors. 

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