Shimla, Aug 26 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur on Friday introduced a bill in the assembly to dissuade youngsters from tobacco use and smoking, making provisions for registration of tobacco sellers.
The Himachal Pradesh Prohibition of Sale of Loose Cigarettes and Bidis and Regulation of Retail Business of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Bill of 2016 is likely to listed for discussion on the last day of the assembly session on Saturday.
It makes the registration of retailers of cigarettes and other tobacco products mandatory. The offences are cognizable, bailable and compoundable.
According to the bill, any person who contravenes the provision of registration for selling the tobacco products shall be punished with an imprisonment for up to three months or with a fine up to Rs 50,000 or both.
For the second or subsequent contravention, the person may be punished with imprisonment, which may extend to one year, and with fine which may extend up to Rs 100,000.
For violating the ban on sale of loose cigarettes or bidis, a person shall be punishable with a fine of Rs 10,000 for the first offence and Rs 15,000 for the second and subsequent offence.
The bill empowers the police or any other authorised officer of the state to enter and search the business premises or any other place where the retail business of cigarettes and other tobacco products is being carried on or where such products are stored, and may seize such material if the official has a reason to believe that the provisions are being contravened.
The Health Minister said the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act or COTPA of 2003, which is a central act, has no provision for regulation of retail business of the cigarette and other tobacco products.
"We have brought this law with a view to discourage the smoking of cigarettes and consumption of other tobacco products by the general public, especially the younger generation," he said.
The state government on November 4, 2015, had banned the sale of loose cigarettes and bidis through a notification under Section 7 of the CPTPA, an official told IANS.