Shillong(Meghalaya),Sep 21 : The Deputy Commissioner & District Magistrate, East Khasi Hills District has in an order prohibited sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to any person who is under eighteen years of age and area within a radius of 100 yards radius from the outer boundary of educational institutions.
Vendors and shopkeepers where tobacco products are sold shall display a notice containing the warning “Sale of Cigarettes and other Tobacco products to a person under the age of eighteen years is strictly prohibited and is a punishable offence”.
The order is necessitated in view of the complaints received that vendors and shopkeepers are selling cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors at market places and within the close proximity of educational institutions openly, thus violating Section 6 of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA), which prohibits sale of tobacco products to minors, below the age of 18 years.
Further, the act also gives power to any police officer, not below the rank of a Sub-Inspector or any Officer of State Food or Drug Administration or any other Officer, holding the equivalent rank being not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police for search and seizure where tobacco products are produced, stored or sold, if he suspects that the provision of the act has been violated and any person who contravenes the provisions of section 6 shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be punishable with fine.
The order also states that selling of tobacco products in close proximity of educational institutions, not only it is in violation of the directions by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, but it also influences and normalizes consumption of these products in children, which leads to issues of addiction in later years, and has an adverse impact on health and well-being of the people.