The firm denied the allegations and raised questions on the government’s authority to issue such notice
New Delhi: A tobacco company questioned the Delhi State Tobacco Control Cell’s authority to issue show cause notices for violations under the COTPA and raised questions about the rationale under which it observed the last day of every month as ‘dry day for tobacco’, officials said.
The health department of the Delhi government conducts enforcement and awareness drives as part of the ‘dry day for tobacco’, observed on the last day of every month in the capital since 2013.
According to Additional Director (Health) S.K. Arora, the State Tobacco Control Cell had recently issued a show cause notice to the company after it caught some people promoting a particular brand of cigarettes and distributing single sticks to the people in Netaji Subhash Place area few weeks back.
This was promotion of smoking, promotion of brand and at the same time giving loose cigarettes without the packages having health warnings, he said.
As the sale of loose cigarettes was banned, the company was issued a show cause notice under section 5 and 7 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). In the notice, the firm was asked to clarify its position and explain why action should not be taken against it under the COTPA.
The firm denied the allegations and raised questions on the government’s authority to issue such notices.he said.“It also criticised and instructed the government to stop its health awareness campaign ‘dry day for tobacco’...,” Arora said.
“This is high handedness on the part of the company and mounts to unwarranted intrusion in the functioning of government and causing interruption in public health programme of country. This is not acceptable,” he said.
The official said he had written to the higher authorities in the Delhi and central governments to take stringent action against the company as such interference by the tobacco industry was likely tokill the Tobacco Control Programme and hence, affect public’s health.
Arora said the country couldn’t achieve the target of eliminating tuberculosis by 2025 without implementing the programme as 30-40 per cent of TB cases were of smokers only.