The Uttar Pradesh government announced that only Municipal Corporation-registered vendors will be allowed to sell tobacco, cigarettes and allied products in the Indian state. The vendors will have to register themselves with the civic body to procure licenses for selling tobacco products.
The Voluntary Health Association of India has welcomed the move by the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP Government. Procuring licenses for these products will regulate the sale of tobacco products in UP.
Regulation of access to tobacco products is necessary to save people from the life-long suffering caused by addictive tobacco products. The situation gets even worse during current times of pandemic where people who smoke are at a higher risk of catching Corona virus (COVID-19) and its deadly effects. Mandatory licensing for vendors selling cigarettes, bidis, khaini etc., effective enforcement of the rules and policies applicable for tobacco control will start soon.
Chief Minister Yogi said that we hope that other states will follow the strong example set by Uttar Pradesh and protect people, especially children, from the menace of tobacco. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has sent an advisory letter to all the state governments recommending licensing of tobacco vendors to the municipal corporation.
It would be appropriate to include a condition/provision in the license that shops selling tobacco products will not be able to sell non-tobacco products like toffee, candy, chips, biscuits, soft drinks etc, the advisory said. The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has also sent a similar advisory to the principal secretaries of all the states to protect the future generation and discourage the opening of more shops selling tobacco products.
According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2, 2016-17) conducted by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, 35.5% of adults (15 years and above) in Uttar Pradesh use some form of tobacco. The total direct and indirect cost of disease caused by tobacco use is Rs 182,000 crore, which is about 1.8% of the country’s GDP.