National

Sale of Loose Cigarettes may be Banned in India

New Delhi, Nov 25: The sale of loose cigarettes may be banned in the country after the central government on Tuesday said that it has accepted the recommendations of an expert panel which has suggested restriction on its sale in loose form.

The panel has also suggested increasing the minimum age for buying the tobacco products, proposing a bigger fine for violation of provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today, Health minister JP Nadda said, "the Ministry has accepted the recommendations and a draft note for Cabinet has been circulated for consultation."

The tobacco companies will face tough period after the recommendation gets a nod from both the Cabinet and Parliament for implementation.

Nearly 70 per cent of all sales are from loose cigarettes - many cannot afford to buy a packet of 10 cigarettes at an average Rs 190

Analysts say sales will take a 10 to 20 per cent hit if these proposals are made the law. The cigarette industry contributes Rs 25,000 crore in tax revenue, but health concerns are expected to override the loss from that.

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