HYDERABAD: Acting tough on the tobacco consumption in the country, Union health ministry has recently proposed to impose ban on sale of loose tobacco products and to raise the age limit for tobacco consumption from 18 to 25 years. But, even before the official announcement was made, the government’s move is facing heat from retail pan shop owners across the country.
Pan shop owners, whose majority earnings come from sale of loose tobacco products alone, now fear that the ban will hit their sales badly. Citing the reason, they said, many of the customers cannot afford to buy whole pack of cigarettes and prefer to buy only loose cigarettes. “Once the proposal is materialised, our business will go down by at least 35 percent,” said R Shankar Rao, president of the Pan Shops Owners Association of India (PSOAI).
There is no official data of the number of pan shops in the country. But according to the available data with PSOAI, there are around 3 crore pan shops in India, out of which 1.7 lakh shops are located in Telangana. More than 6 crore people are dependent on this business both directly and indirectly.