LANGUAGE
Last updated: December 7th 2020

Sales Restrictions

Sale of single cigarettes/sticks

Some Restrictions
Analysis

The law does not specifically prohibit the sale of single cigarette sticks; therefore, the law is interpreted as permitting the sale of single cigarette sticks. However, several state governments have banned the sale of loose cigarettes as a violation of pack warning laws. Therefore, the regulatory status code "Some Restrictions" is given.

To align with FCTC Art. 16, the law should prohibit the sale of single cigarettes throughout India as this increases the affordability of cigarettes to minors.

Sale of tobacco products via vending machines

Banned
Analysis

The sale of tobacco products by vending machine is explicitly prohibited in G.S.R. 619(E), which amends Rule 5 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Rules, 2004 (G.S.R. 137(E)).

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13, the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, and FCTC Art. 16 in this respect.

Sale of tobacco products via the internet

Allowed
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Analysis

The law does not explicitly prohibit internet sales. While it is possible to interpret COTPA Sec. 5(1) (prohibiting a person having control over a medium to advertise, tobacco products through that medium) broadly as encompassing such sales, there is no explicit reference to electronic sales - only physical points of sale. Accordingly, we conclude that the drafters did not intend to prohibit internet sales.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit internet tobacco product sales, regardless of age, as internet sales are an inherent form of advertising and promotion.

Sale of smokeless tobacco products

Some Restrictions
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Analysis

National law does not prohibit or restrict the sale of smokeless tobacco products. However, the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Regulations prohibit tobacco and nicotine from being used in any food products. Subsequent to a Supreme Court order, all state governments have banned the manufacture and sale of gutka and pan masala (with tobacco and nicotine) under FSS Regulations, Sec. 2.3.4. Further, at least 12 states/union territories have banned, in addition to gutka, other forms of smokeless tobacco - e.g., zarda, khaini, and kharra - under FSS Regulations, Sec. 2.3.4 and FSS Act 2006, Sec. 30(2)(a), which empowers the Commissioner of Food Safety to prohibit in the interest of public health, the manufacture, storage, distribution, or sale of any article of food. In addition, two state governments have imposed a comprehensive ban on smokeless tobacco through their Public Health Acts. Based on this, the regulatory status code "Some Restrictions" is given.

Sale of waterpipe tobacco products

Allowed
Analysis

The law does not specifically prohibit the sale of waterpipe tobacco; therefore, the law is interpreted as permitting the sale of waterpipe tobacco.

Note: The Ministry of Health and Welfare recently issued a rule clarifying that hookah service is not allowed in places where smoking is otherwise legally permitted (e.g., smoking areas in certain restaurants, bars, airports).

Location-based Sales Restrictions

Schools/educational facilities

Banned
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Analysis

COTPA prohibits the sale of cigarettes or any other tobacco product within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institution. An "educational institution," as defined by Ministry of Health Notification G.S.R. 40(E), includes schools, colleges, and institutions of higher learning.

Playgrounds

Allowed
Analysis

The law does not prohibit or restrict the sale of tobacco products on playgrounds; therefore, the law is interpreted as permitting the sale of tobacco products on playgrounds.

Stadiums/arenas

Allowed
Analysis

The law does not prohibit or restrict the sale of tobacco products in stadiums/arenas; therefore, the law is interpreted as permitting the sale of tobacco products in stadiums/arenas.

Healthcare facilities

Allowed
Analysis

The law does not prohibit or restrict the sale of tobacco products in healthcare facilities; therefore, the law is interpreted as permitting the sale of tobacco products in healthcare facilities.

Cultural facilities

Allowed
Analysis

The law does not prohibit or restrict the sale of tobacco products in cultural facilities; therefore, the law is interpreted as permitting the sale of tobacco products in cultural facilities.

Retail Package Size Restrictions

Minimum number of cigarette sticks per unit package

No
Analysis

The law does not require a minimum number of cigarette sticks per unit package.

To align with FCTC Art. 16, the law should prohibit the sale of small packets of cigarettes which increase the affordability to minors.

Minimum weight of smokeless tobacco per unit package

No
Analysis

The law does not require a minimum weight per unit package of smokeless tobacco.

Retail Licensing Requirements

Specific retail license required to sell tobacco products

No
Analysis

There is no national-level requirement that retail traders must obtain a license in order to sell tobacco products. However, some states do require retail licenses.

To align with FCTC Art. 15, the law should require all retailers to obtain a license to sell tobacco products.