The legal age for smoking in India might be 18, but you can often find many young teenagers purchasing loose cigarettes and smoking by the street side. In fact, according to reports around 90% of children under the age of 16 years have consumed some form of tobacco in the past and 70% of them are still consuming tobacco products. The Health Ministry of the country has decided to address this issue and will be increasing the legal age for smoking tobacco in India from 18 to 21 years. This move is taken to prevent young children from taking on this vice and to strengthen the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).
What’s In It?
After banning the use of vape, the government is on a mission to raise the legal age for consuming tobacco from 18 to 21 years. The ministry constituted a legal subgroup to suggest legal reforms for tobacco control in the country. This meeting was held recently and the team submitted its recommendations to the ministry. Apart from increasing the legal age for tobacco consumption, the committee has also suggested increasing the fine amount for violation of rules. A provision for tracking mechanism to check illegal trade of tobacco products and cigarette will also be introduced by the committee as per the news agency, ANI.
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The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS2) revealed that the mean age for tobacco use has increased from 17.9 years in GATS1 to 18.9 years. An official stated that people mostly take up smoking as young adults especially late in schools and colleges. The official further stated that youth in the age group of 18 to 21 years are very susceptible to start smoking mainly due to peer pressure or as a fashion statement thanks to tobacco industry heavily targetting this age group. So increasing the legal age group to 21 years would decrease the number of youngsters opting for tobacco every year. Parents won’t be able to send their children aged below 21 years to purchase cigarettes for them. Did You Know Smoking Is Illegal In Thailand?
The Health Ministry is contemplating to increase the penalty for smoking in restricted areas which is currently up to ₹200. Smoking comes at a cost after all! Smoking is prohibited by the COTPA in public areas, and tobacco products cannot be sold within 100 yards of educational institutions and it cannot be sold to people below the age group of 18 years. An official stated that the goal is to make COTPA more inclined to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) guidelines and to make it more effective. The government banned e-cigarettes and vapes last year in the country and this year, it’s taken another step to control smoking. Before you blow your lid ff due to the possible rise in legal age, remember that there is no smoke without fire!