“The Indian market is a very tough one for premium cigars because the taxes are so outrageous. The government does not differentiate between other tobacco products such as cigarettes and beedis which are addictive and very harmful and premium cigars which are luxury products, smoked occasionally and not inhaled,” Patel said.
The Union Health Ministry has put the draft of a bill, that will replace an ordinance issued in September to ban e-cigarettes, in public domain seeking feedback and comments from public. The ministry intends to introduce the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019, in the forthcoming session of Parliament.
While addressing a press conference in Delhi, Secretary Health and Family Welfare, Preeti Sudan on e-cigarettes ban and its punishment proposed said, “The punishment proposed is imprisonment up to 1 year or a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh, or both for the first offence and imprisonment of 3 years or a fine up to Rs. 5 lakhs or both, for subsequent offence.
The aim is to make it more effective and more inclined to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) guidelines, sources said. Currently, the penalty for smoking in restricted areas is up to Rs 200.
The Union Health Ministry has re-initiated the process of amending the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) in a bid to strengthen its provisions, including a ban on the sale of loose cigarettes and heavy fine for violation of rules.