NEW DELHI • India’s tobacco industry will object to a proposal to ban smoking zones in hotels and prohibit advertising at cigarette kiosks as the government steps up anti-smoking efforts, two executives said yesterday.
India has, over the years, introduced tobacco controls and launched campaigns to deter its use, but enforcement of the law has been a challenge.
The World Health Organisation says nearly 1.35 million people die each year in India due to tobacco use.
India released draft changes to its tobacco-control law over the weekend to ban smoking zones in hotels, restaurants and airports. The proposal also calls for increasing the minimum legal smoking age from 18 to 21.
If implemented, the plan is expected to hit sales of companies such as ITC, Godfrey Phillips India and a unit of Philip Morris International which operate in the country’s US$12 billion (S$15.8 billion) cigarette market, executives said.
ITC shares fell 3 per cent while Godfrey dropped 1.5 per cent yesterday.
“Some of the measures are very extreme and problematic,” said one tobacco industry executive, who added that companies will raise their concerns before the public consultation period of the proposal ends on Jan 31.
Another executive said concerns around the impact on employment and how farmers could be affected will also be shared with the government.
The draft changes have also tightened existing provisions to ban advertising at kiosks