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Licensing tobacco vendors in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India: Challenges, opportunities and the way forward to implement the new legislation
 
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National Health Mission, Himachal Pradesh, India
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Gopal Chauhan   

National Health Mission, Himachal Pradesh, India
Publication date: 2021-09-02
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A131
 
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Himachal Pradesh with a population of about 7 million is the first smoke-free state among all 21 large states in India. The state has achieved substantial progress in implementation of MPOWER policies which resulted in a significant reduction in tobacco use from 21.2 to 16 % since GATS -1. MPOWER policies are mainly focused demand reduction. Hence, tobacco control leaders are advocating for licensing tobacco vendors to reduce easy availability of tobacco products as an effective supply side measure.

Objectives:
Keeping in view the rampant availability of tobacco products and huge purchase of loose cigarette (>70%), especially by youth, the Government of Himachal Pradesh enacted new legislation named Himachal Pradesh Prohibition of Sales of Loose Cigarettes and Biddies and Regulation of Retail Business of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act in the year 2016. This new law provides strict provisions for banning sale of loose tobacco or single sticks of cigarettes and to licence tobacco vendors. Now, it is easy to monitor sales and use of tobacco and to allow a limited number of vendors to sell tobacco with strict regulatory provisions. The new rules are effective from July 30, 2018.

Methods:
It is an observational study.

Results:
Before enacting this legislation, most of the vendors were selling tobacco with other confectionaries, grocery and daily need items. The provisions of the new law provides licence to vendors to sell tobacco exclusively only with stringent restrictions. The fear of losing business is forcing the vendors not to sell tobacco and to opt for alternate business. Hence, the availability of tobacco products has reduced remarkably.

Conclusion(s):
Licensing tobacco vendors is a cost effective tool to restrict tobacco supplies. The numbers of licences shall be restricted for desired outcomes. A scientific evaluation is needed to guide the future course of action.

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