BENGALURU: Despite a gazette notification on rules regarding regulation of tobacco products issued almost a year ago, it is still pending before the Chief Minister’s Office and the Urban Development Department. Karnataka was the first to initiate the process of making tobacco vendor licences a requirement in 2013, but with the delay, most states have already implemented such a system.
The Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka have been campaigning for licences to be made mandatory for tobacco sellers, as a way to prevent sale of the product to children.At a press conference, Shashi Kumar, general secretary for the Associated Managements of Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) said though there are restrictions on selling tobacco around schools, these go ignored with authorities turning a blind eye.
According to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisements and Regulation of trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution), Act 2003 (COTPA), the sale of tobacco products has been banned within 100 yards of any educational institutions and to anyone under the age of 18.Dr Prasad S M, secretary of the Karnataka branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), said over 90 per cent of smokers start before the age of 18.
“Children are the main target of the tobacco industry. They resort to cheap tactics like celebrity endorsements, attractive display of tobacco products in shops, displaying tobacco products visible to children and near shops selling toys, sweets, soda and electronic gadgets,” he said.