Punjab

Tobacco Vendors to be Included in the Licensing Process, Center to Punjab Government

October 04, 2017 08:29 PM

S.A.S. Nagar, October 04, 2017: To curb the problem of youth smoking and tobacco consumption the Center Government has issued an advisory to the Punjab State Government to build a system of tobacco vendor licensing. The letter is issued by Mr. Arun Kumar Jha, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare directing, Karan Avtar Singh, Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab on September 22, to develop a mechanism for issuing licenses for vendors selling tobacco products.

  • Toffee, chips, biscuits eatables will not be found at Tobacco shops

In addition, the letter also mandates that the vendors of tobacco should not stock and sell any product which attracts non smokers and kids to these stores like toffee, biscuits, chips and other eatable things. Till now all the shopkeepers have been selling tobacco without any interdiction. Central Government has issued this advisory to keep children and youth away from tobacco products. It has also been said in the letter that local bodies or municipal corporations are to decide the process for issuing licenses. If these rules apply, then every tobacco seller will be required to take a license. NGO Generation Saviour Association, struggling to enforce the tobacco control laws, wrote a letter to Punjab’s local body minister Navjot Singh Sidhu demanding an immediate action on the letter and to develop a mechanism for licensing process for the tobacco shopkeepers in the state to be started as soon as possible and the action should be taken immediately on the letter of Union Health Ministry. Ms. Opinder Preet Kaur, President, Generation Saviour Association, said that according to the previous notification issued by the Punjab government tobacco cannot be sold with food items, but it did not apply to ground level.

She said that if the suggestion of the Center is implemented, the tobacco selling industry will not remain unorganized and the trade of illegal tobacco products can also stop. She said that tobacco vendors are selling and supplying illegal cigarettes openly without any fear which are smuggled from the other countries and these are available at every smallest outlet. The organization has also appealed to the minister to set up a committee of experts for the purpose of implementing the Center’s suggestions. The Association also mentioned ‘Punjab Tobacco’ Vends Fee Act-1954’ in the letter which was not adopted after the partition of Punjab. The provisions of this act can be help to frame a mechanism of issuing license for tobacco shopkeepers, she said.

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