Govt plans to stop cigarette shops from selling soft drinks, biscuits or candies

A World Health Organisation report released in 2015 revealed that a million deaths related to tobacco take place in India every year. However, even before that, governments have been placing policies to curb the tobacco epidemic either by banning public smoking in the cities, or pasting graphic images on cigarette packets, or issuing morbid advertisements on papers, television and even in cinema halls. It has also been made sure that selling of tobacco to a child would book a person to seven years in prison, as per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015.
The enormity of the problem can be fathomed by that fact 100 million people in India smoke cigarettes and bidis, while every fifth adult in a population of 1.2 billion is addicted to gutkha and khaini. Moreover, 40% of cases of cancer are related to smoking.
Nevertheless, the tobacco threat has proven to be more challenging than anticipated. Taking the bull by the horns now, the government is taking yet another step to control the use of tobacco. As mentioned in a report by Hindustan Times , tobacconists must now register with local civic authorities. Not only that, these shops will now not be able to sell biscuits, soft drinks, candies, toffees, chips and other items that might attracts non-smokers.

This step has been taken to dissuade minors and young adults from taking tobacco.

The HT report mentions that the Union Ministry wrote to the states on 21 September to devise a method that would provide these shops with permission or authority from municipal authorities.

The report quoted Arun Jha, economic advisor with the ministry saying, “The idea is to track every single shop selling tobacco products by making them register with the local municipal authority. Government should be able to identify all cigarette shops running anywhere in the country.” He further added that the sale of tobacco products to minors must be tracked and there should be no advertisements of the said products.

Jha also added that most of the states have reacted positively to the letter and that now it remains to be seen how it is implemented.