With an aim to dissuade youngsters from tobacco use and smoking, the ban on sale of loose cigarettes and beedis in Himachal Pradesh came into force from Saturday.
‘HP prohibition of sale of loose cigarettes/beedis and regulation of retail business of cigarettes and other tobacco products Bill 2016’ was passed during the Monsoon session of the Assembly and has been notified after getting assent from Governor. The Act provides for complete ban on sale of loose cigarettes and beedis and compulsory registration of dealers of tobacco products.
A provision for fine up to Rs 50,000 and jail up to three months for contravention of law in the first instance and fine up to Rs 1-lakh and jail up to one year for committing the offence the second time has been made in the act, aimed at reducing consumption of tobacco products.
No dealer would allowed retail business without registration from Registering authority and violation of the provision would attract fine up to Rs 10,000 for the first time and Rs 15,000 for subsequent offences.
Further, any police officer, not below the rank of Assistant Sub Inspector or any authorized officer of the state government, if he has reason to suspect that any provision of this Act has been, or is being, contravened, can enter and search any business premises or any other place where retail business of cigarettes or beedis or any other tobacco products is being carried or such products are stored.
State Health minister Kaul Singh Thakur said the Act has been passed to discourage the consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products by the general public and especially by the younger generation who use to purchase single cigarette or loose cigarettes and also to reduce the financial burden on healthcare spent on tobacco-caused diseases, disability, low productivity, morbidity and mortality.
He said sale of loose cigarettes and beedis has been banned from today and registration of retail business of cigarette and other tobacco products has been made mandatory under the law.