The Indian Health Ministry is considering whether it should ban the sale of single cigarettes, according to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala newsletter.
In fact, such a ‘ban’ might be a case of enforcing one already in place since the ministry said the country’s Tobacco Act prohibited the sale of any tobacco products not in a package incorporating mandatory health warnings and tar- and nicotine-delivery information.
The ministry said that single-stick sales provided an added attraction for underage people and the poor, who could not afford to buy cigarettes by the pack.
If the Indian government doesn’t act, the government of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh might. It, too, is considering banning the sale of single cigarettes,
The Health and Family Welfare Minister, Kaul Singh Thakur, said cigarettes sold by the stick did not carry health warnings and were often bought by school and college students who could not afford to buy full packs.
Meanwhile, the state is planning to increase the VAT on cigarettes from the existing 36 per cent to 50 per cent.
Last year, VAT was increased on cigarettes and cigars from 18 per cent to 36 per cent, and on bidis from 11 per cent to 22 per cent.