Prelims level : Institutional Reforms Mains level : GS2B - Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
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Why in News:

  • Tamil Nadu is all set to introduce vendor licensing for selling tobacco products. Under this, shopkeepers need to obtain licenses to sell cigarettes and beedis and stand a chance of losing their licenses if they violate rules laid down by the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003.


  • As of now, vendors who violate rules pay fine and go back to selling tobacco products such as cigarettes and beedis. Once vendor licensing is introduced, license is cancelled. This will act as a major deterrent and enforcement will become easy and better.
  • Through this way, access to cigarettes for minors will be reduced. Violations under sections 6 (a) prohibition of sale of tobacco products to minors and 6 (b) prohibition of sale within 100 yards of any educational institution of COTPA would be made implemented.

Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003.

  • The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 or COTPA, 2003 is an Act of Parliament of India enacted in 2003 to prohibit advertisement of, and to provide for the regulation of trade and commerce in, and production, supply and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products in India.
  • It was enacted by Parliament to give effect to Resolution passed by 39th World Health Assembly (WHA), urging member states to implement measures to provide non-smokers protection from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke.


  • The Act prohibits smoking of tobacco in public places, except in special smoking zones in hotels, restaurants and airports and open spaces.
    Advertisement of tobacco products including cigarettes is prohibited. No person shall participate in advertisement of tobacco product, or allow a medium of publication to be used for advertisement of tobacco products.
  • Tobacco products cannot be sold to person below the age of 18 years, and in places within 100 yards radius from the outer boundary of an institution of education, which includes school colleges and institutions of higher learning established or recognized by an appropriate authority.
  • Cigarette packets are required to carry pictorial warnings of a skull or scorpion or certain prescribed pictorial warnings along with the text SMOKING KILLS and TOBACCO CAUSES MOUTH CANCER in both Hindi and English.
  • A person who advertises tobacco products shall on first conviction shall be punished with up to 2 years in imprisonment or with fine which can extend to Rs. 1000, in case of subsequent conviction shall be punished with up to 5 years in imprisonment or with fine which can extend to Rs. 5000.
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