Tea stalls caught selling loose cigarettes in Mysuru

Tea stalls in Mysuru which were caught selling loose cigarettes during a surprise raid on Wednesday face the prospect of having an FIR registered against them.

The State government has issued a notification banning the sale of loose cigarettes. “It is illegal to sell loose cigarettes,” said Selvaraj, State nodal officer of the Anti-Tobacco Cell.

The tea stalls in the vicinity of suburban bus stand in Mysuru were caught off guard when a team of government officials, led by Additional Deputy Commissioner B.R. Poornima, carried out a surprise inspection on Wednesday evening. They were selling cigarettes, beedis and other tobacco products in violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003. But, unlike most occasions when they manage to get away by paying a penalty, the tea stall owners now stare at the prospect of having an FIR registered against them.

Sending a message

The Additional Deputy Commissioner has asked officials to lodge an FIR so that a strong message is sent out to violators of the rule. “The Health Department has filed a complaint and an FIR is in the process of being lodged against six tea stall owners,” said Shivakumar, the district consultant on the National Tobacco Control Programme. Mr. Shivakumar said FIRs were normally not lodged in most cases of COTPA violation, and this would be a first in Mysuru.

With an amendment to COTPA making graphic pictorial warning mandatory on packets of tobacco products, though the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products bearing the warning is not illegal, that of loose cigarettes is interpreted as illegal.

Also, shops selling packets of cigarettes and other tobacco products should have signages stating that smoking in public is banned. Shops selling tobacco products should not be within a 100-metre radius of an educational institution.

The authorities chose the tea stalls around the suburban bus stand for the crackdown as the area is always teeming with people, including the elderly, women and children.

The team seized 26 packets of cigarettes, 51 packets of chewing tobacco and other items, including beedi packets valued around ₹8,000. Since April 2019, the authorities have booked 1,162 cases of COTPA violation in Mysuru and collected a penalty of ₹2.19 lakh.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 10:30:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tea-stalls-caught-selling-loose-cigarettes-in-mysuru/article30814580.ece

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