The Andhra Pradesh government should follow the advisory of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare directing State governments to develop a mechanism to provide permission or authorisation through municipal and local authority to the retail shops selling tobacco products.
Speakers at a seminar — ‘Tobacco breaks hearts — organised to commemorate World Tobacco Day — felt that despite measures and laws to check use of tobacco products, the industry was finding novel ways to circumvent legal provisions and was introducing new products such as e-cigarettes and hookah bars to lure young customers.
R. Kannan, Head of the Department of Oral Medicine, Narayana Dental College, said, “The regulation by municipal bodies will help curb mushrooming of shops selling tobacco products such as cigarettes, beedis, gukta khaini and zarda pan. Limiting the sale of tobacco to certain shops will restrict access especially for children. It will help reducing number of vendors and retailers”.
P.V.V.S. Murthy, president, Federation of AP Consumers Organisation, said municipalities can use tobacco vendor licensing to implement and enforce a variety of policies aimed at reducing access and exposure to tobacco products in the retail environment thus making it a great foundational regulatory tool for local governments.
Dr. Kannan said Rajasthan has made compulsory licensing for sale, trade storage and processing of tobacco products by using powers under the Rajasthan Municipal Act 2009. “Similarly, Himachal, Bihar, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh are implementing the law.”
Speakers said as per the finds of Global Adult Tobacco Survey -2, as many as 3,700 tobacco-related deaths occur in India per day.
“India is the second largest consumer and third largest producer of tobacco in the world.”