Centre drafts law to raise legal age of smoking to 21 years

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The Centre has prepared a bill to raise the age for allowing sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to 21 years from the current 18 years.

The government has drafted the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Act, 2020.

The provision for raising the age limit to 21 years is part of the new bill being piloted by the Union Health Ministry. The bill seeks to amend further the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

Under the amendments proposed in the bill, “No person shall sell, offer for sale, or permit sale of, cigarette or any other tobacco product – (a) to or by any person who is under twenty-one years of age, and in an area within a radius of one hundred meters of any educational institution.”

Section 7 is being amended to say, “Provided that the trade and commerce in cigarette or any other tobacco product shall be in sealed, intact and original packaging.” It also adds a provision, “No person shall, directly or indirectly, produce, supply or distribute cigarettes or any other tobacco products unless every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco products produced, supplied or distributed by him is having minimum quantity as may be prescribed.”

Contravention of this Section 7 will lead to imprisonment of two years or fine going up to Rs 1 lakh and second conviction leading to prison for 5 years or fine going up to Rs 5 lakh.