Chhattisgarh bans the sale of loose cigarettes

The Union congratulates the state of Chhattisgarh in India for banning the sale of loose cigarettes, in an effort to combat tobacco use in the region.

Loose cigarettes are sold without any specific health warnings, contravening India’s Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003, which requires all tobacco products to have graphic health warnings.

Around one million people die from tobacco-related diseases in India each year. Chhattisgarh has made good progress on tobacco control in recent years. According to the India Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016, prevalence of tobacco use in the state reduced by 14.1 percentage points, from 53.2 percent in 2010 to 39.1 percent in 2016. However, 7.5 million people continue to use tobacco in Chhattisgarh.

“The Union welcomes this significant action by the Chhattisgarh state government to ban the sale of loose cigarettes,” said Dr Rana J Singh, Deputy Regional Director for South East Asia at The Union. “Achievements like these make a valuable contribution to reducing tobacco-related deaths in Chhattisgarh.”

The Union has supported the Chhattisgarh state government to advance tobacco control for many years. Since October 2018, The Union has supported the state health department to build capacity of stakeholders to enforce legislation, including prohibiting the sale of loose tobacco products and graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging.

The Union also welcomes the recent announcement from the Chhattisgarh Health Minister that the state will take action against smokeless tobacco, which is highly addictive and damaging to health. Smokeless tobacco – especially Gudakhu, a paste made with tobacco, molasses, lime, red soil and water and rubbed over the teeth and gums – is widely used in Chhattisgarh.

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