Tamil Nadu

Vendor licensing to regulate sale of tobacco products in Tamil Nadu yet to take off

A plan to introduce tobacco vendor licensing to regulate sale of products is yet to take off in the State.

The Health Department, in coordination with the Police and Local Administration Departments, has launched a two-month drive to check the sale of banned, chewable tobacco products, such as gutka and pan masala.

In this line, the need to implement vendor licensing is being reiterated as it was the next step in tobacco control. An earlier proposal to roll out a licensing mechanism for vendors is yet to materialise. Recently, the Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control submitted a memorandum to the Health Minister to bring in vendor licensing among a number of other demands. This was a licensing formulation for shopkeepers through which they would not be permitted to sell any product other than tobacco. This would reduce the availability and accessibility of tobacco products and also limit the density of tobacco retailers in the community, schools, colleges, parks and hospitals, the forum said. S. Cyril Alexander, State convenor of the forum, said vendor licensing would help in sustaining the enforcement measures. It would cover sections 4 (prohibition of smoking in a public place), 5 (prohibition of advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products) and 6 (prohibition of sale to a person below the age of 18) under Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act.

“Vendor licensing is nothing new. It is in force in a number of countries, such as Hungary, Australia, Canada, Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam and some States in the country such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam and West Bengal. This is the next move in tobacco control. It will cut children’s access to tobacco products. There will be no shops selling tobacco near schools as licences will not be given. Smoking in public places will be reduced to a large extent,” he said.

V. Surendran, associate professor and head of Psycho-Oncology and Resource Centre for Tobacco Control, Cancer Institute (WIA), said, a few years ago, they had submitted a representation to the State government requesting to introduce vendor licensing. “Any shops that sell candy, biscuits or any child-related product cannot sell tobacco. The only issue is that the government should decide who will issue the license — the Public Health Department or Municipal Administration. If brought in, it will be a great achievement,” he said. “We are technically exploring the possibilities of vendor licensing and cessation services in view of the potential benefits expected out of this in tobacco control activities,” T. S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 3:10:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vendor-licensing-to-regulate-sale-of-tobacco-products-in-tamil-nadu-yet-to-take-off/article35551444.ece

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