chronic cigaretteA committee set up by the Health Ministry to recommend amendments to the Tobacco Regulation Act is considering recommending raising the minimum age for smoking from the current 18 years to 25 years.

The committee, headed by former Delhi Health Secretary Ramesh Chandra, is also in favour of raising fines for tobacco related offences, including smoking in public.

The final suggestions on the amendments, however, are yet to be prepared.

Chandra said it will be ready early next week.

“We are in favour of raising the minimum age for smoking to 25 years. We also want fines for tobacco-related offences to be raised and among the suggestions that we have received is one that says that the fine for smoking in public should be Rs20,000,” he said.

“We have not taken a call on what that amount should be but we understand that proposing an amount that is not practical will only cause the government to reject that recommendation,” he added.

The committee also wants to stop the sale of loose cigarettes and raise the size of the pictorial warning.

Members explained that the inputs of the committee are more of a technical nature, delineating international best practices and the health effects of tobacco, according to the report.

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