Maharashtra: Sale Of Loose Cigarettes And Bidi Banned

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Mehab Qureshi

Pune, September 26, 2020: In the wake of Coronavirus disease (COVID19) pandemic, Maharashtra Health department has now banned the sale of loose cigarettes and bidis.

The health department has issued this order and the officials from the department have enforced this order to be implemented immediately, reported Marathi newspaper Loksatta.

The sale of loose cigarettes and bidis is now banned everywhere in the state. If you want to smoke cigarettes and bidis from now on, you will have to buy a complete packet and bidi bundle. The state government has informed that the order was issued to stop the youth from addiction. The government has also directed the police and the municipal corporations to enforce the order strictly and as soon as possible.

The report published by Loksatta quotes a senior health official stating that many governments tried previously but due to insufficient support of the government, the law hasn’t been issued in this regard. However, the government has finally considered this due to the ongoing COVID19 situation.

Meanwhile, the government has made it mandatory to print that smoking is injurious to health on at least 85 percent space on the packet. However, when the bidi or cigarette is sold loosely, the consumer does not understand the seriousness of the hazard. Therefore, it has been decided to sell the packets of cigarettes and bidis, the officer said.

However, this move of the state government has not gone well with the smokers. “I don’t understand the logic behind this order. Everyone already knows that cigarette is injurious to health and it is a choice made by the consumer whether to buy it or not. This decision is completely absurd and illogical”, said a smoker on condition of anonymity.

The central government had earlier banned the production and sale of e-cigarettes. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the decision on September 19, 2019. E-cigarettes were seen as an alternative to smoking; However, the ban was imposed on it as well.