GATS India estimated the number of tobacco users in India to be 27.49 crore, with 16.37 crore users of only smokeless tobacco, 6.89 crore only smokers and 4.23 crore users of both smoking and smokeless tobacco.
The following key steps have been taken by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to curb smoking and consumption of tobacco products:
a) The “Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, (COTPA) was enacted in 2003” to discourage tobacco use.
b) In 2007-08 Government of India launched the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) with the objectives to (i) create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption, (ii) reduce the production and supply of tobacco products, (iii) ensure effective implementation of the provisions made under (COTPA) and (iv) help the people quit tobacco use through Tobacco Cessation Centres.
c) Under the 12th Five Year Plan the coverage of National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) has been up-scaled from existing 42 districts of 21 states to 53 districts of 29 states in 2013-2014. Approval has been obtained from Empowered Programme Committee (EPC) under NHM for scaling the programme to more than 600 Districts, in a phase-wise manner during 12th Five Year Plan.
d) Further, the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011 dated 1st August 2011, issued under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, lays down that tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food products. Currently, 33 States / UT’s have issued orders for implementation of the Food Safety Regulations banning manufacture, sale and storage of Gutka and Pan Masala containing tobacco or nicotine.
e) Dedicated funds have been made available to air public awareness campaigns. A variety of media have been used to create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco and to reach a wider audience. Dedicated spots have been developed as well as adapted from global best practices.
f) The Ministry of Health has notified the new graphic health warnings which have come into effect from 1st April 2013.
g) In order to protect the youth from unnecessary exposure to tobacco imagery in films and TV Programmes, the Ministry has notified the rules to regulate depiction of tobacco products or their use in films and TV programmes. As per these rules, all films and TV programmes (both Indian & Foreign) depicting tobacco products or their use have to screen a health spot of 30 seconds duration and a disclaimer of 20 seconds duration on the harmful effects of tobacco use.
Vide notification G.S.R. 417 (E ) dated 30th May, 2008 Ministry has notified twelve (12) sets of person who have been authorized to impose and collect fine against violation of the provision related to prohibition of smoking in public places. Further vide notification G.S.R. 680 (E) dated 15th September, 2009 , nine (9 ) additional set of persons have been authorized.
Further Section 12 of COTPA empowers the state governments to authorize 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 to enforce the provisions under the Act.