Blog Image

Anti Smoking Laws - Strictness Required

Anti Smoking Laws - Strictness Required
- Dudharejiya Krutika Pravin


Smoking is the primary reason of various health issues like lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems and stroke. Around six million people worldwide die each year due to use of tobacco. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, there were 100 million premature deaths due to tobacco in the 20th century, and if the current trends of tobacco use continue, this number is expected to rise to 1 billion in the 21st century. Smoking in India has been known since 2000 BC. However, tobacco was introduced in India in the 17th Century. Nowadays smoking has become a common practice, especially among the youth. There are approximately 120 million smokers in India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India is home to 12% of the world’s smokers. More than 10 million people die annually due to the use of tobacco in India. India\'s tobacco problem is quiet complex. The smoking practice includes a large use of varieties of smoking forms and an array of smokeless tobacco products. In India, the common forms of smoking are Cigars, Cigarettes and Beedies. The last two are the most famous throughout India. 


Anti-smoking laws are known as the critical driver for meaningful progress in tobacco control. World health assembly in May 2003 adopted the WHO framework convention on tobacco control (WHO FCTC). It is a worldwide public health convention, implemented as a universal retort to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. It aims at dropping the burden of disease and death caused by tobacco. On 5 February 2004,India became the eighth state to ratify it.In 1975 it was made compulsory to display a statutory health warning on all packages and ads of cigarettes and related products. Limitations on tobacco trade were enforced along with actions to legislate a comprehensive and detailed bill for tobacco control during the 1980-90 time periods.The Cable Television Network (Regulation) Amendment Bill, was enforced on 8 September 2000, and it completely bans the advertisements of cigarettes and alcohol.In April 2003, the parliament passed the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Bill, 2003 legislation. The Billwas made an Act on 18 May 2003 – COTPA. Rules were formulated and enforced from 1 May 2004.The Act is applicable to all or any products containing tobacco in any form, and extends to the entire of India.


The key regulations of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 are as follows:

• Prohibition of smoking in publicly places (including indoor workplaces). This has been implemented from 2nd October 2008 in the whole of India.
• Prohibition of advertisement, direct and indirect (point-of-sale advertising is permitted), sponsorship and promotion of tobacco products.
• Prohibition of sales to minors (tobacco products can\'t be sold to children less than 18 years aged and can\'t be sold within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institutions).
• Regulation of health warning in tobacco products packs. English and another Indian language to be used for health warnings on tobacco packets. Pictorial health warnings also to be included.
• Regulation and testing of tar and nicotine contents of tobacco products and declaring on tobacco products packages.


The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW), GOI, launched the National tobacco control programme (NTCP) in the XI Five Year Plan to facilitate the implementation of the Tobacco Control Laws, cause greater awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco and to satisfy the obligations under the WHO-FCTC. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 28 January 2010 approved the programme. The NTCP established tobacco product testing laboratories; provide baseline estimates of tobacco prevalence; and, status of implementation of the Tobacco Control Law. The pilot phase focused on 42 districts of 21 states. The activities of NTCP arranged exhibitions, seminars, banners at District level, implementing the anti-tobacco act in letter and spirit, sending monthly reports regarding the anti-tobacco activities in the district level to the state. At the headquarters the activities focused are promoting Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities at the district level and multi-sectoral involvement for the implementation of the Act with the help of NGOs, locks police Department, Department of education and the Local Administration.


There is strong evidence that tobacco tax increases, the dissemination of information about the health risks from tobacco and increased access to cessation therapies are effective in reducing tobacco use. However, their implementation is uneven and limited, with higher-income countries having more anti-smoking laws in situ than the low- and middle-income countries. Effective implementation could also be suffering from the tobacco industry lobbying power, partly due to political constraints and therefore the country\'s overall commitment to tobacco control. The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) designed to evaluate the impact of policies implemented under WHO FCTC will provide further evidence base to guide policies enacted under the FCTC and systematically evaluate the effectiveness of these legislative efforts.
Despite efforts to curb tobacco marketing and sales by the government, the tobacco industry continues to target vulnerable populations, such as marginalized communities. The 2018 tobacco control and consumption study shows increased levels of marketing — in the form of billboards, flyers — in lower socioeconomic neighbourhoods. The brunt of poor tobacco control, then, is borne by the poor. Beedies (tobacco rolled in a temburim leaf) are popular among communities from lower socio-economic backgrounds; they are also cheap, easily accessible, contain three to five times nicotine than commercial cigarettes, and are produced by a largely unregulated industry that remains untouched by the government’s health campaigns or caution regulations.


Despite the passing of several anti-smoking bills, the positive cultural perception of smoking remains almost stagnant — due to a lack of proper implementation of anti-tobacco laws, and awareness and knowledge amongst the people as to its harmful health effects.
Measures that proved very effective within the developed world, like tax increases on all tobacco products have got to be  enforced immediately and therefore the taxes collected should be used to support the health promotion and tobacco control awareness programmes. Sustained efforts are needed from the Government to strengthen efforts on alternate cropping and alternate livelihoods to exchange employment losses that will come up gradually.

Public health awareness, raising a mass movement against tobacco, sensitizing and educating all health care professionals for tobacco control and cessation by incorporating the subject in medical undergraduate curriculum, nursing curriculum, various CMEs, conferences, scientific meetings, workshops, etc. is vital. Eventually, if all healthcare professionals participate in tobacco control and cessation, it will have an enormously huge impact. Expansion of TCCs to the periphery to succeed in the community, making them more accessible and widely acceptable, will facilitate many millions of current tobacco users to quit the habit.


1. World Health Organization, The History of tobacco, (WHO – 7 October 2013).
2. The Hindu, From the Archives: Smoking letter to the Editor, (30 September 2019)
3. The MPOWER package, warning about the dangers of tobacco. Geneva: WHO; 2011. WHO Report on The Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2011
4. Reddy KS, Gupta PC, editors. Report on Tobacco Control in India (New Delhi, India) New Delhi, India: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; 2004.
5. WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. World Health Organization. 2003 (updated reprint 2005) ISBN 978 9241591010.
6. Ministry of health and Family Welfare, Government of India. [Last accessed on 28 May. 2020]Availablefrom:
7. Corrao MA, Guindon GE, Sharma N, Shokoohi DF, editors. Tobacco Control in developing countries. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2000. 
8. Chaloupka F, Jha P, Corrao M, Costa e Silva VL, Ross H, Czart C, et al. WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health Working Paper Series, June 25 2001. Smoking-Related Mortality. 
9. International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project. [Last accessed on 28 May 2020]. Available from:
10. The Swaddle, Indian Anti Smoking Laws Have Failed to Change Cultural Acceptance of Smoking [last accessed on 29 May 2020].