Tobacco kills more than 1 million people each year in India, according to the World Health Organisation. While no organ is immune to the destructive effects of cigarette smoke, it has one of the worst impacts on lungs.With the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of respiratory problems for vulnerable populations has increased significantly, leaving smokers more exposed to negative health outcomes. The global observance of World No Tobacco Day on May 31 presents an opportunity to raise awareness around smoking risks, and to work with smokers to find effective strategies for quitting.Here are four practices smokers should adopt during COVID-19 to manage their stress and anxiety in a healthy way.
International Tobacco Co Ltd, which does contract manufacturing exclusively for the company, resumed partial operations with restricted capacity and manpower at its Ghaziabad factory, Godfrey Phillips India (GPI) said in a regulatory filing.
This may come as a relief for smokers who are paying through their nose for cigarettes with retailers over-charging them over the printed price citing poor supplies and higher prices charged by distributors. The company spokesperson said it has opened around 150 factories, 2,000 wholesale distribution points and 45 warehouses in total.
Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA), which claims to represent farmers and farm workers said demand for tobacco has weakened due to declining volumes of tobacco products thus sought government intervention to reschedule crop loans for next two to three seasons and allow farmers to repay the loans in splits of 30% each per season.
Due to delay in supplies and also health advisories on COVID-19, there may be muted demand this year. Tobacco Board expects about 20 per cent dip in demand this year. As per PTI, Tobacco Board may ask farmers to cut down sowing in Karnataka this year following the plunge in demand.
In view of the increasing danger of the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has also appealed to people to refrain from consuming smokeless tobacco products and spitting in public places.
While grocery shops are the only ones selling cigarettes since pan-and-cigarette shops remaining closed for the 21 days lockdown, these retailers are selling packs at Rs 5-15 more than their printed price citing limited stock, a senior industry executive said.
"As an organisation what is of utmost importance to us is our employees' health and safety. In fact about 10 days ago, we announced work from home just to ensure that nobody gets exposed, much before the lockdown," Wadhera told PTI.
Industry sources said that ITC has been introducing new variants and augmenting its product portfolio in the cigarette business.
"Key market interventions in recent months include the launch of innovative and differentiated offerings such as Gold Flake Indie Mint, Gold Flake Neo and Classic Rich & Smooth in the premium end," according to sources.
The committee, besides increasing the legal age of tobacco consumption, has also recommended increasing the fine amount for violation of rules and introducing a provision of tracking and tracking mechanism to check illicit trade of cigarette and tobacco products, an official said.
"Upon the prohibition of electronic-cigarettes by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it has been decided that e-cigarettes includes all forms of electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), heat not burn products, e-hookah and the like devices," stated the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security circular dated January 10.
ITC, which accounts for every three of four cigarettes sold in the country, has increased prices by 10% in the premium segment, while for the regular cigarette of 69-mm size the price has gone up by around 14-16%. In entry level sub-64 mm small size cigarettes, the hike is between 12% and 20% depending on the brands.
Price of cigarettes will go up by 6-7% in case of lower priced packs where the stick size is small and has borne the maximum increase in duties, while for the larger size sticks and premium packs the price hike will be 4-5%.
"We have previously raised the broader question of the group's corporate governance with the company.Jupiter does not dictate board structures to companies, but it is clear to us that a review of the group's governance would be beneficial to improve wider investor confidence, in keeping with the broader governance reform agenda already underway in India," Jupiter said