In September last year, the Union ministry of health and family had suggested tobacco be sold without fast moving consumer goods (FMCG). It said that children might get exposed to tobacco products when they go to buy chips or chocolates.
After this order, Maharashtra became the first state to implement the directive after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of tobacco and FMCG under one roof in the state.
“We assume people of Maharashtra are law-abiding and will comply with the orders once they come to know about it. Once there is awareness about it, we will then take action. There is a provision to cancel licences and registrations, we may also file a case in civil court which may then lead to imprisonment of up to six months plus fine,” FDA commissioner Pallavi Darade said.
In the last seven years, there’s been a decline in the use of tobacco in the state, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey Maharashtra shared in December last year.
However, the usage among the 15-17 age group has increased from 2.9% in 2010 to 5.5% in 2017 – a relative increase of 90%.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi from Tata Memorial Hospital, Parel, said that 90% of tobacco users started smoking in their teenage and only less than 5% of them were able to quit. This is why this move by the Centre will ensure that children don’t get influenced by tobacco products and get addicted to them.