The government will ban illicit tobacco advertisements at the points of sale in Kerala, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Friday.

The government would initiate all legal measures to reduce tobacco consumption, including a ban on advertisements and an increase in tax. Tax on cigarettes was raised from 15 per cent to 20 per cent in the current Budget, not to bring in additional revenue, but to primarily bring down the consumption of tobacco, the Chief Minister said while inaugurating a World No Tobacco Day observance organised jointly by the State government and NGOs working for tobacco control.

He said the ban on pan masala across the State was one of the major public health measures that his government had taken. Many steps were being taken to check and counter the smuggling of pan masala products into the State, Mr. Chandy said.

The Chief Minister honoured Janardana Iyer, honorary secretary, Regional Cancer Association, a nonagenarian who has dedicated his life for the cause of tobacco control in Kerala. A technical session on ‘Role and Commitment of Education, Health, Police departments, Film and Media in Tobacco Control’ was also held.

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