Patna: Ciggy Puffers will have poorie faces from now on in Bihar. Cigarette sellers have been stopped from selling ‘loose sticks’ ( single Cigarettes ). The health department has banned sale of loose cigarettes making Bihar the 12th state in the country to bring such a ban into effect after Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi and others.
A notification issued by the executive director of the State Health Society, Bihar, Lokesh Kumar Singh, on Friday stated that as per Section 7 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, pictorial warnings regarding the harmful effects of consumption of tobacco products should be mentioned on the packets of tobacco products.
“Section 20 of COTPA, 2003, already states that sale, distribution, purchase, display and advertisement of tobacco products without the essential pictorial warnings make a punishable offence. As the loose cigarettes don’t have the pictorial warnings, thus its sale, distribution, purchase, display and advertisement under COTPA, 2003, is banned. So in the wake of this, all district magistrate, district tobacco control co-ordination committee, superintendent of police, are directed to ensure implementation of the same and make raiding teams for strict enforcement,” says the notification.
The executive director of Socio, Economic and Educational Development Society (SEEDS), Deepak Mishra,told a local newspaper : “As per Global Adults Tobacco Survey (GATS), 53.5 per cent adults consume tobacco in one or other form in Bihar while 9 per cent of this 53.5 per cent are addicted to cigarettes.
He believes that teenagers are mainly dependent on loose cigarettes for their nicotine fix. He praised the decision, saying it would save ‘children’ from cigarette consumption and deal a major blow to cigarette companies. “The tobacco companies target kids and teenagers. The kids and teenagers don’t buy the whole packet but go for loose cigarettes. When teenagers start smoking, one cigarette is consumed by three individuals. So, this decision would be a deterrent to kids and youngsters who start smoking by buying loose cigarettes.”
The state health department had already banned the manufacture, distribution, trade, sale, purchase and display of e-cigarettes earlier this year.