It refers to Union Health Ministry’s circular to states for compulsorily registering shops selling tobacco-products including cigarettes, and not allowing these to sell non-tobacco products. Step will certainly impose an effective check on sale of tobacco products apart from preventing children start smoking as a fashion-status. Presently shops selling cigarettes etc also sell soft drinks and favourite food-packs of interest to children attracting them to cigarettes. However, India needs a total ban on manufacture and sale of cigarettes in India like is there in Bhutan and Ireland. Even family-members of smokers will support such a bold step, because it is the family which suffers from death of persons caused by smoking. Revenue-loss from ban on cigarettes will be more than compensated by funds saved on tobacco-related diseases. If self-regulation is the policy to check human evils, then Union Government should withdraw attempt-to-suicide from Indian Penal Code. Likewise using helmets by scooterists should also be made self-regulatory rather than being forced as compulsory.
Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)