National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said that tobacco products should be
taxed more and films, OTT platforms and other forms of media that
display the use of such products should also be charged more.
Kanoongo was speaking on the subject at a webinar titled ‘Freedom
From Tobacco: What India Wants’ on the occasion of National Youth
Week. “The affordability and easy availability of tobacco products are
harmful. An increase in taxes will not only make these products out of
bounds but additional revenues earned can be used for the treatment
and rehabilitation of those suffering from tobacco-related diseases,”
Increased taxation on media that displays the use of tobacco will
require people to pay more and help “discourage glorification of
tobacco products”, the NCPCR chairman felt.
“There is ongoing psychological warfare by the tobacco
companies; they target young children by positioning tobacco-related
ads at their eye-level at points of sale and promoting the sale of
tobacco products such as gutkha and beedi, alongside sweets, candies,
and toys,” Kanoongo said.
India loses over 13 lakh of its citizens annually to tobacco and
secondhand smoke. “It is scary to note that children between 13 and
15 years of age constitute 8.5 per cent of tobacco users,” pointed out
Prof (Dr) Uma Kumar, Head of Rheumatology, AIIMS, New Delhi.
The e-book, ‘What India Wants’ was also released on this occasion,
which is a compilation of results from various surveys and polls that
suggest more than 88 per cent of respondents want the proposed
amendments to the tobacco control laws to come into effect.
According to the latest Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS-4),
tobacco consumption is striking deeper roots in India.
Experts insist on increasing taxes and passing the proposed
amendments to the tobacco-control law, COTPA, to ensure better
deterrence to tobacco consumption.