Indian lawyers sue government for failing to regulate tobacco availability, highlighting health hazards and illegal sales

Indian lawyers sue government for failing to regulate tobacco availability, highlighting health hazards and illegal sales

According to a report by Indian media Mid-day on January 2, two lawyers in Mumbai, India, sued the country’s government for failing to control the availability of drugs and tobacco and their growing addiction among young people, the legal notice emphasized. pointed out the adverse effects and health hazards of tobacco, and pointed out that the government failed to control its illegal sales.

Lawyers Abid Abbas Sayyed and Saif Alam have submitted letters to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, the Health Minister, the Mumbai Police Commissioner and the Indian FDA Give notice of legal proceedings.

The notice highlights the adverse effects, health hazards and addictive properties associated with tobacco and points to the failure to control its illegal sale. Lawyers drew the attention of the government to the sale of smuggled cigarettes from abroad and the supply of banned gutka, a tobacco product unique to India.

According to survey data, there are approximately 275 million tobacco users in India, of which 35% are aged 15 and above. Much attention is paid to the fact that the increase in tobacco use in developing countries has contributed significantly to the increasing burden of tobacco-related diseases and premature deaths. The rapid increase in tobacco use among children, adults and other vulnerable groups in society creates significant public health concerns at local and national levels.

Saif said that the Cigarettes (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 1975 made it mandatory to display statutory health warnings on all packages and advertisements of cigarettes. However, the 1975 Cigarette Act is flawed due to insufficient coverage and weak provisions. Subsequently, the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 2003 (COTPA) was introduced.

Saif said COTPA is the primary law governing tobacco control in India and provides a more comprehensive approach covering all tobacco products including cigarettes.

The purpose of the law is to safeguard and enhance public health by incorporating evidence-based strategies to reduce tobacco consumption. The bill precedes India's ratification of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 5, 2004.

As a major step in the anti-tobacco campaign, the Maharashtra government has banned the production, sale and distribution of gutka and tobacco. Pan Masala. These items are classified as food within the scope of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 (FSSA).

"The ban was imposed in July 2012 and the Bombay High Court upheld the decision with more support and extended the ban in Maharashtra till July 2014," Alam said.

In their notification, the two cited the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-17, highlighting that one in four youths in Maharashtra consume tobacco. Advocate Alam said, “According to the Department of Health and Services data from 2016 to March 2022, hospitals and centers in Maharashtra have registered around 10 lakh patients with a history of tobacco consumption.

Alam and Saeed passed legal notices asking the police to prepare a proper action plan and for the state government to enact new legislation.
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