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With Roman law doctrine, govt moves to stub out tobacco industry rights

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Res extra commercium

Mains level: Ill effects of tobacco and measures to reduce its consumption


News

Centre pushing a rarely used doctrine 

  1. The Indian government is pushing the Supreme Court to apply a rarely used doctrine that would strip the $11 billion tobacco industry’s legal right to trade
  2. This effort is aimed at deterring tobacco companies from challenging tough new regulations

Classifying tobacco as outside commerce good

  1. Government has for the first time asked the top court to classify tobacco as “res extra commercium”, a Latin phrase meaning “outside commerce”
  2. The doctrine—which harkens back to Roman law would result in denying an industry’s legal standing to trade
  3. It would also give authorities more leeway to impose restrictions
  4. For example, the Supreme Court’s application of the doctrine to alcohol in the 1970s paved the way for at least two Indian states to ban it completely
  5. It also allowed courts to take a stricter stance while regulating liquor

What could this result in?

  1. The doctrine would open the door to an outright ban on tobacco sales if a state so wished
  2. It gives governments the constitutional cover that will protect future litigation

Why this move?

  1. Aim is to curb tobacco consumption which kills more than 900,000 people each year in India
  2. The government has in recent years raised tobacco taxes, started smoking cessation campaigns and introduced laws requiring covering most of the package in health warnings

Effect of warnings on cigarette packs

  1. Stringent health warnings on packages help reduce consumption of tobacco by making people aware of its ill-effects
  2. A government survey last year found 62% of cigarette smokers thought of quitting because of warning labels on the packets

Despite ban, no dip in gutkha consumption in Gujarat: Survey

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Global Adult Tobacco Survey

Mains level: Rising usage of tobacco and its harmful effects on health as well as economy


News

No effect of ban observed

  1. Despite a ban on gutkha sale in Gujarat since 2012, use of tobacco has not gone down in the state
  2. The percentage of gutkha users remained same at 12.8 as compared to 2009-10, the percentage of daily smokeless tobacco users has increased from 16.4 to 17.1 in the same period
  3. This is despite the fact that 91.6 percent adults believe that smokeless tobacco causes serious illness

Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)

  1. All these findings are a part of GATS-2 conducted recently
  2. GATS 1 was conducted in 2009-10
  3. The GATS was conducted in 30 states and two Union Territories in which they interviewed people who were 15 years and above
  4. The GATS was conducted by Government of India with technical assistance from WHO, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and TISS

Observations made in survey

  1. The survey states that the age of starting smoking has come down from 20 years to 16 years in the last seven years
  2. For smokeless tobacco use, the mean age has increased marginally from 18 to 18.9 years

SC for larger warnings on cigarette packs

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling Rules) 2008, Article 19 of constitution

Mains level: Should tobacco products be banned


News

SC stays Karnataka High Court order reducing pictorial warning size on cigarette packs

  1. The Supreme Court stayed a Karnataka High Court order reducing the size of pictorial warnings on packages of tobacco products to 40% of the package space
  2. The court foregrounded the health of citizens over the concerns of the tobacco industry
  3. SC favored a government regulation requiring packets of tobacco products to sport pictorial warnings covering 85% of their packaging space

Background

  1. The Division Bench of the High Court had struck down the amendment to the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling Rules) 2008, as amended in 2014
  2. Read the full news here

View of government

  1. In a country where illiteracy is rampant, the more prominent the warning, the better impact it would have on the minds of the people
  2. It is the obligation of the State to make the people aware as regards the injurious nature of these indulgences
  3. Apart from the victim of the habit, the family suffers. The whole society faces peril

View of industry

  1. The use of such pictures on 85% packaging space is a violation of their fundamental right to do business under Article 19 (1) (g)
  2. A parliamentary standing committee has already recommended pictorial warnings on 50% space and this should be adopted till March 31, 2018, when the issue would be re-examined

Centre examining health effects of e-cigarettes: Nadda

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: e-cigarettes

Mains level: Measures required to control tobacco usage


News

Three groups to study the various aspects of e-cigarettes

  1. The government is examining the legal implications and health effects of e-cigarettes
  2. The Health Ministry had constituted three groups to study the various aspects of e-cigarettes

About the three groups

  1. Group one studied the legal implications of this e-nicotine drug induce system
  2. The second group studied the health effects
  3. The third group studied advocacy
  4. All three sub-groups have given their reports and the Ministry is working on them

We had covered a similar news on e-cigarettes on 13th December. Read all details about e-cigarettes and provisions related to it here

Karnataka HC strikes down rule on stringent tobacco pack warnings

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014, Article 77 (Conduct of Business of Government of India), Article 19

Mains level: Government efforts to limit usage of tobacco


News

2014 rules on graphics unconstitutional, says HC

  1. Karnataka High Court on Friday declared as unconstitutional the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014
  2. These rules had enhanced to 85% the area of pictorial warning on the principal area of packages of cigarette and other tobacco products
  3. The court upheld the similar Rules of 2008
  4. The 2008 rules — which had prescribed that 40% of the specified pictorial warning be printed on the principal area of the packages — would be in force until the Union government frames a fresh rule or amends the 2008 rules

Reason given behind the ruling

  1. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare unilaterally framed the Rules without concurrence of the other departments concerned
  2. This was a violation of the Article 77 (Conduct of Business of Government of India) and the Transaction of Business (ToB) rules framed under it
  3. The rules were notified even before the Parliamentary Committee on sub-ordinate legislations was examining them
  4. Parliamentary Committee, in its final report submitted on March 15, 2016, had recommended restricting the area of pictorial warning to 50%
  5.  The rules are contrary to Article 19(1)(g) [right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business] as they are “unreasonable” restrictions imposed “without application of mind or any basis”

Opposition from ministries

  1. Ministry of Commerce had opposed 85% area for pictorial warning on the ground that it would not result in any benefit and wanted to restrict the pictorial warnings to 40% or 50%
  2. The Labour Ministry had opposed pictorial warning for the reason that it would harm the beedi industry, on which several poor families are depending upon for their livelihood

Government reasoning inappropriate

  1. Referring to cautions and contents of warnings lime “smoking kills” or “tobacco kills”, “smoking causes cancer”, etc, court pointed out that no medical or scientific data or empirical research was conducted and data collected placed before the court in this regard
  2. Tobacco products inside the packages remain legally sellable even after changed pictorial warning

Maharashtra FDA approaches law and judiciary dept over ban on e-cigarettes

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Electronic nicotine delivery systems, Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, Food Safety and Standards Act, Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)

Mains level: Efforts to limit usage of tobacco


News

Legal provisions sought to impose a ban on electronic cigarettes

  1. The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sought the opinion of the state’s law and judiciary department on what legal provisions it can invoke to impose a ban on electronic cigarettes
  2. The move comes after the regulatory body found it can neither term vaping devices as a ‘drug’ nor as a ‘food through which it can enforce such a ban

About E-cigarettes

  1. E-cigarettes, also called electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), were invented in 2003
  2. The hand-held device uses liquid nicotine or non-nicotine solution to inhale and give similar effects of smoking

No law to control usage

  1. In 2016, the Maharashtra FDA had sought the opinion of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) regarding e-cigarettes
  2. DCGI had decided that e-cigarettes would not be controlled under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940
  3. DCGI does not consider liquid nicotine a new drug
  4. FDA then internally asked its food department to consider vaping devices as a food product to attract ban under the Food Safety and Standards Act
  5. The smoke inhaled cannot be considered a food product, just like cigarettes

Rising risk of usage by youngsters

  1. The latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) found that although e-cigarettes consumption was much lower, it was becoming increasingly popular amongst youngsters
  2. Studies have suggested that liquid nicotine may be toxic and e-cigarettes can become a gateway towards smoking for youngsters

Delhi bans chewable tobacco for a year

  1. Context: The Delhi government has banned the sale, purchase and storage of all forms of chewable tobacco, for one year
  2. The ban is in pursuance of a series of directions from the Supreme Court on sale of tobacco products
  3. Loophole: In earlier notification, term ‘gutka’ was used & retailers started selling the raw components (betel nut and raw tobacco) in separate pouches, thus rendering the ban ineffective
  4. Protection: Now, unpackaged products of chewable tobacco will also be covered under the ban

India steps up fight against cigarette firms over health warnings

  1. Context: Health Ministry has ordered government agencies to enforce a new rule for bigger health warnings (85%) on cigarette packs
  2. Fight: Against the country’s $10 billion cigarette industry that has shut down its factories in protest
  3. Conflict: Action highlights a growing conflict between the tobacco industry and the federal government
  4. Tobacco industry: New rules are impractical and create ambiguity as the Parliamentary panel’s report had called for warnings to cover half the packs’ surface area

National Tobacco Control Policy recommended

  1. Context: A panel has recommended framing an “equitable and pragmatic” National Tobacco Control Policy
  2. Panel: The Committee on Subordinate Legislation on Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment (COTPA) Rules 2014
  3. Why? Various organs of government can work in tandem & tobacco production can be brought under a regulatory regime
  4. Also, to help achieve the overall objectives under National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP)
  5. Problem: No single crop is as remunerative as tobacco and it is difficult to persuade its growers to switch to alternative crops

What is National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP)?

  1. It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme
  2. Aims: To bring about greater awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco use and about the Tobacco Control Laws
  3. Also, to facilitate effective implementation of the Tobacco Control Laws (COTPA 2003)
  4. Nodal Authority: National Tobacco Control Cell at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  5. It is responsible for overall policy formulation, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the different activities envisaged under NTCP
  6. Also, State & District Tobacco Control Cells are established to ensure ground level implementation

Parliament panel favours bringing tobacco production under regulatory regime

  1. News: Parliamentary panel has recommended framing an “equitable and pragmatic” national tobacco control policy
  2. Reason: Various organs of govt can work in tandem and tobacco production can be brought under a regulatory regime
  3. Challenge: The agriculture ministry has pointed out that no single crop is as remunerative as tobacco and it is difficult to persuade its growers to switch to alternative crops
  4. Statistics: Approx 800 million kgs of tobacco is annually produced in the country

Parliamentary panel recommends smaller pictorial warnings on tobacco products

  1. News: The 15-member committee has recommended that pictorial warnings be restricted to only 50% on both the sides of the cigarette packets
  2. For bidis, chewing tobacco and other tobacco products, the warning be restricted to 50% of the display area and on only one side of the packet
  3. Reason: It will be too harsh on the tobacco industry and will result in flooding of illicit cigarettes
  4. Importance: From April 1, pictorial warnings covering 85% of the principal display area of the front and back sides of all tobacco products can become effective

Pictorial warnings on tobacco products to get bigger

  1. Pictorial health warning on packages of tobacco products will become bigger from April 1 next year.
  2. A health ministry notification said that all tobacco products would carry warnings covering 85% of the package area up from 40% at present.
  3. The Rajasthan HC had earlier ordered the Centre to ensure that larger pictorial warnings are carried on all tobacco products by September 29.
  4. The Ministry will seek 6 months as the producers of the products need to make adjustments to their products.

[op-ed snap] Why India Ignores A $16-Billion Smoking-Led Health Crisis

Cigarettes are getting most of the blame but the bidi industry has consistently squeezed concessions from the government.

  1. World Health Organisation’s Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2015 is largely ignored in India.
  2. Its single-line message: Raising tobacco taxes can help curb smoking.
  3. About one million Indians die from smoking-related causes every year, which are among the top three ways to die.
  4. A 10% price increase on tobacco products could cut consumption between 2% and 8% in developing nations, according to the WHO.
  5. Bidi smokers face a higher risk of developing potentially-fatal chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), among other illnesses, because tobacco is packed more loosely in bidis, requiring smokers to inhale more strongly.
  6. Many women workers suffer gynaecological problems and pregnancy complications.

E-Cigarettes: Risks that they hold


 

  1. In recent years the global electronic cigarette industry has evolved into a $3-billion business with 466 brands: there was only one manufacturer in 2005.
  2. E-Cigarette is the most common prototype of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
  3. It is a battery-powered device with a replaceable cartridge; the cartridge contains nicotine and variety of flavors.
  4. As it is tobacco and smoke free, therefore no toxic by-products are released.
  5. Though, it is considered less harmful but, it emits aerosols.

Existing evidence shows that ENDS aerosol is not merely “water vapour”. It contains cancer-causing agents, such as formaldehyde, which in some brands reach concentrations close to that of conventional cigarettes.


 

We have made remarkable progress in terms of tobacco control, but the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes threatens to undermine years of hard work. Can you suggest possible approaches to check on this menace? Cite your sources to substantiate your answer.

Interesting facts on Tobacco usage in India

  1. The North-Eastern region exhibits highest rates of tobacco use – Mizoram has 80% men using some form of Tobacco.
  2. These chewable tobacco products contain purified tobacco, paraffin, areca nut, lime, catechu & 230 permitted additives + flavours including known carcinogens.
  3. National Tobacco Control Program (07/08) – Govt. piloted this programme after the COTPA Act, 2003. Program is implemented at 3 levels – District, State & National.
PIB

Of bidi, pan masala & gutkhas

  1. Let us not forget smokeless tobacco and pan masala, which are consumed by many as 45% of us.
  2. Gutkha is basically a flavoured and sweetened dry mixture of areca nut (supari), catechu (kattha), slaked lime and tobacco.
  3. The same without the tobacco is termed pan masala.
  4. Continuous use of these mixtures give you oral submucosal fibrosis or OSF.
  5. Note – Areca nut, used for centuries in India and the East, both as a “health practice” and as social courtesy can have ill effects.
  6. Areca nut + Betel leaf = Tambulam.

Questions (attempt in the comments section)

1

Critically comment on the efficacy of provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act in curbing consumption of tobacco in India.

2

It is found that there has been increase in tobacco consumption level by children below 18 years of age in India. What multipronged approach is necessary to keep the young ones away from tobacco? Discuss.

3

Is the introduction of pictorial warnings covering 85 per cent of the principal display area on both sides of all tobacco products ineffectual in India? Critically comment.

4

Discuss the risks of smokeless tobacco, challenges faced in imposing ban on it in India and measures taken by governments in this regard.

5

What options does government have to discourage smoking in India? Tobacco companies are resisting a new regulation that the mandatory pictorial warnings on cigarette packages be made larger. Should government yield to such resistance because tobacco farmers are affected? Comment.

6

It is found that there has been increase in tobacco consumption level by children below 18 years of age in India. What multipronged approach is necessary to keep the young ones away from tobacco? Discuss.







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