|Rahul Dwivedi, CNS|
Rahul Dwivedi who leads Vote For Health campaign of Asha Parivar and CNS, said: "As per the new law, anybody found selling loose cigarettes would be face a fine of Rs.1,000 and serve a one-year jail term. Any individual violating the law for a second consecutive occasion would face a fine of Rs.3,000 and serve a three-year jail term. Anybody caught manufacturing loose cigarettes will face a fine of Rs.10,000 and serve a five-year jail term. This is an important public health step UP government has taken."
According to a research study conducted by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), and published in Asian Pacific Journal of Caner Prevention, nearly 75% of all cigarettes in India are sold as single sticks valued at close to 30 per cent of the Rs.35,000 crore (over $5 billion) Indian market. "The sale of single cigarettes, which is not in the interest of public health, is an important factor for early experimentation, initiation and persistence of tobacco use, says the study. The singles also give vendors a perverse incentive to extract extra margins. For cigarette companies, singles make it easier to promote new brands and conduct market research on customers at the point of sale" said Dwivedi.
RAISE TAXES ON BEEDI
Dwivedi further added: "UP govt has raised VAT on all tobacco products but exempted beedi recently. According to the latest data of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for UP state, bidi smoking in men was 5 times more than those who smoke cigarettes (20.1% bidi vs 4.1% cigarette) whereas bidi smoking was nearly 18 times more popular than cigarette smoking in women. Overall bidis (12.4%) were 5.5 times more popular than cigarettes (2.3%). When beedi smoking is many times more than cigarette smoking, then why has not VAT been increased on Beedi as well? We appeal to UP government to raise taxes on all tobacco products and protect health of its citizens."
Tobacco kills over a million Indians every year. Despite such an enormous death toll, there is hardly any hue and cry to end the tobacco game, rather advancing public health measures have faced repeated obstacles. "Implementation of 85% pictorial warnings on all tobacco packs got delayed by a year - which is just not acceptable! Who is responsible for delaying public health impact of evidence-based policy measures?" asked Dwivedi.
Citizen News Service - CNS
7 October 2015