K’taka emulates Kiwis to end tobacco use

Karnataka is looking at 2007 as the threshold year to consider prohibiting those born after that year from buying tobacco products.

Published: 02nd March 2023 12:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd March 2023 09:07 AM   |  A+A-

No Smoking

For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

Karnataka’s health and family welfare department is considering phasing out tobacco consumption along the lines of what is being done in New Zealand. The island country in the Southern Pacific Ocean passed a new law in December 2022 prohibiting anyone born after 2008 from buying cigarettes or tobacco products. Even decades into the future, those born after 2008 will not be allowed to buy tobacco products in that country. This is expected to lead to New Zealand eventually being the first tobacco-free country.

Karnataka is looking at 2007 as the threshold year to consider prohibiting those born after that year from buying tobacco products. The plan may come into force in 2025 when the 2007-born are 18. The idea is to keep youngsters away from tobacco consumption and ensure they stay away even as they grow older in the hope that they remain tobacco-free—an appealing plan on the face of it, but not without huge challenges of enforcing it. Formulating well meaning laws is one thing, but having a fool-proof enforcement mechanism to ensure none born after 2007 buys tobacco products would remain a Herculean task. Karnataka, as much as all of India, is all too familiar with people bypassing laws, finding loopholes and basking in the excitement of beating a government-initiated mandate, whatever the penalties. In this case, there is every chance they would look at ways to perpetuate unhealthy habits despite the health benefits of prohibition.

About 22.8% of those above 15 are smokers in Karnataka, with a population of 6.4 crore (2014). It is 27.20% for all of India, with a population of about 140 crore. It is below 10% in New Zealand, with a population of just 51.2 lakh (2021)—less than half the population of Bengaluru alone. That should give an idea of what level of enforcement would be required in Karnataka— more so in India if the law gets picked up across the country—for it to be successfully implemented.

The percentage of smokers (aged 15 and above) in India has reduced from 54.50% in 2000 to 27.20% in 2020. But the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare report stated that 50% of all cancers in India were still due to tobacco consumption. If health benefits are prime, a stricter law to curb smoking among all age groups is required, not a gentle phase-out as planned


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp