Tobacco, in recent times has been hailed as the most evil and harmful edible ingredient, widely consumed by people at large. Tobacco’s addictive quality has attracted a humongous commercial market. Nonetheless, consumption, distribution, sale and advertisements of tobacco and its products is controlled by the law of the land. This much needed regulation has to a great magnitude discouraged its use and safeguarded people from further harm and health hazards. Discovering the legal aspect on the use and misuse of tobacco has piqued the interest of a sea of people worldwide. Let us catch a glimpse of the laws pertaining tobacco and its products in India.
India has enacted certain relevant laws to provide protection to non-smokers from involuntary exposure to tobacco and smoke, these laws have also curtailed tobacco consumption on a large scale especially in public places.
One such legislation being;
An act was passed by 39th world health assembly. The significant provisions of the act prohibit tobacco smoking in public spaces such as hospitals, educational institutions, public transport, courts, restaurants, parks, theatres etc. Any person found violating or infringing the provisions shall face a hefty fine or even imprisonment. This law has proved to be a deterrent for many smokers due to the severity of the punishments.
Another provision prohibits advertisements of tobacco and its products such as cigarettes. No videos, leaflets, documents, banners or hoardings shall be publicized to attract more consumers. Furthermore, tobacco products cannot be recklessly sold to teenagers. It is a universal truth that children as young as 12 years have been introduced to smoking cigarettes. This deteriorates their health and they become prone to cancer at a very early age.
Another supremely significant provision of the afore mentioned Act is that tobacco products should be distributed or supplied in a package with an appropriate warning relating to its tar and nicotine content. It must also mention signs such as “SMOKING KILLS” or “TOBACCO CAUSES CANCER” to warn people of its ill effects.
This legislation also gives authority to a police inspector to search and cease tobacco and its products. The concerned authorities in India have been active enough to regulate and control excessive use of tobacco. They take stringent measures such as imposing exorbitant fines and formulating strict rules for factories manufacturing tobacco products. Anyone who’s manufacturing tobacco products if fails to reach its given norms will face punishment of imprisonment till 2 years or fine up to 5000/- Rs.
Kerala became the first state to ban smoking in public spaces, through a landmark judgement passed by the Kerala high court, declaring smoking as illegal for the first time in the history of the world. It stated promotion of smoking is unconstitutional and violative of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which gives the inherent right to life to every person.
Use of tobacco also attracts penal provisions under the Indian penal code. The Air (Prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1981 was enacted to control and prevent air pollution in India therefore the Act prohibits smoking as it is one of the major causes of Air pollution.
To conclude, the above stated legislations along with the path breaking judgments passed by the Honourable Supreme Court and the High Courts of various states have tremendously aided to eradicate the use and misuse of tobacco to a great degree thereby safeguarding the rights of people as well as protecting the environment from irreparable harm.