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Centre wants to stub out airport tobacco shops

Welcome move: The Ministry also ordered that tobacco shops are not located to smoking rooms. In a significant move to discourage smoking at airports, the Union Health Ministry has written to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman, the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation Secretary, and CEOs of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Indira Gandhi International Airport and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport to ensure that tobacco shops at airports are not located near smoking rooms. Punishable offence Besides tobacco shops at airports displaying signage stating that “sale of tobacco products to a person below the age of 18 years is a punishable offence”, they shouldn’t sell non-tobacco products, the letter adds. In the May 26 letter, the Health Ministry brought to the notice of the AAI and the Civil Aviation Ministry that provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003, were being violated at airports by shops selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. These shops, in contravention of provisions of COTPA, display tobacco advertisements and are located just outside smoking rooms or in food courts, thus facilitating tobacco use among non-smokers, especially children. ‘No signage displayed’ The letter highlighted that certain tobacco products are also sold at shops selling souvenirs, food articles, books and comics, thus enabling easy access to non-smokers, especially children, to these shops and tobacco products. These shops also do not display the signage stating that “sale of tobacco products to a person below the age of 18 years is a punishable offence”. An anti-tobacco activist said, “The Health Ministry had earlier issued a notification banning the use of hookah in any smoking area or space provided for smoking.

It had also directed owners, proprietors, managers, supervisors or in-charges of affairs of the hotel, restaurant or airports shall display at the entrance of smoking areas or spaces a board of minimum size of 60×30 cm with a white background the messages — “Tobacco Smoking is Harmful To Your Health and The Health of Non-Smokers” and “Entry of Person Below The Age of Eighteen Years Is Prohibited” — in English and an Indian language in black colour.”. . .

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