Sale of loose CIGARETTES may be banned

Sale of loose cigarettes must be banned as the sale of loose cigarette contravenes the provisions of Section 7 of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Registration of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 and also not in compliance with provisions of Consumer Protection Act and infringe with rights of consumers especially right to be informed about the hazardous effects of the product loose cigarettes in the case. Loose cigarette do not have any mandatory statutory warning “Cigarette smoking is injurious to health and may cause cancer” and also not having any pictorial diagram showing the hazardous effect of tobacco products.

Govt, of Uttar Pradesh vide its notification dated 06.10.2015 and Punjab Govt, dated 6.01.2015 have banned/prohibited the sale of loose cigarettes and issued this notification u/s 7 of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Registration of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, which is punishable u/s 20 of the said Act.

Section 7 of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Registration of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 is reproduced as under:-
“Restrictions on trade and commerce in, and production, supply and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products –

(1) No person shall, directly or indirectly, produce, supply or distribute cigarettes or any other tobacco products unless every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco products, produced, supplied or distributed by him bears thereon, or on its label, [such specified warning including a pictorial warning as may be prescribed].

(2) No person shall cany on trade or commerce in cigarettes or any other tobacco products unless every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco products sold, supplied or distributed by him bears thereon, or on its label, the specified warning.

(3) No person shall import cigarettes or any other tobacco products for distribution or supply for a valuable consideration or for sale in India unless every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco products so imported by him bears thereon, or on its label, the specified warning.

(4) The specified warning shall appear on not less than one of the largest panels of the package in which cigarettes or any other tobacco products have been packed for distribution, sale or supply for a valuable consideration.

(5) No person shall, directly or indirectly, produce, supply or distribute cigarettes or any other tobacco products unless every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco products produced, supplied or distributed by him indicates thereon, or on its label, the nicotine and tar contents on each cigarettes or as the case may be on other tobacco products along with the maximum permissible limits thereof; Provided that the nicotine and tar contents shall not exceed the maximum permissible quantity thereof as may be prescribed by rules made under this Act.” It is also worthwhile to mention that in the case of sale of loose cigarettes to the customer the right of customer under Consumer Protection Act to know the indications and bad effects of the product the consumer is using is violated as loose cigarette do not have any mandatory label having the pictorial diagram and statutory warning “Cigarette smoking is injurious to health and may cause cancer*. Consumer Protection Act 1986 gives the mandate to the concerned authorities to protect following rights of the consumers:-

• The right to be protected from all kind of hazardous goods and services

• The right to be fully informed about the performance and quality of all goods and services

• The right to free choice of goods and services
• The right to be heard in all decision-making processes related to consumer interests

• The right to seek redressal, whenever consumer rights have been infringed

• The right to complete consumer education Therefore, for mandatory compliance of Section 7 of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Registration of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, punishable u/s 20 of said Act and for compliance of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 the sale of loose cigarettes may be banned/prohibited and the distributors, sellers, retailers etc. may be directed not to sell the loose cigarettes to the consumers.

Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the writer and anyone may have a different opinion about these products and will not attract any legal implication.

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