New Delhi: The Union health ministry is examining a proposal to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco to 25 years from the current 18 years to discourage young adults from experimenting with tobacco.
The ministry plans to write to the states asking them to consider raising the tobacco age bar to 25 years, Union health secretary Lov Verma said today on the sidelines of a conference on tobacco control.
“We’re now examining this suggestion,” Verma told The Telegraph. “And we may write to state governments who have the authority to specify age limits for (the sale of) tobacco.”
Public health experts who have been campaigning against tobacco say the proposal has the potential to curb the use of tobacco by young adults but warn that enforcement will be a big challenge.
“This is obviously something worthwhile to consider. Medical studies have suggested that people who haven’t experimented with tobacco up to 21 years of age are unlikely to ever become tobacco users,” said Monika Arora, director of tobacco control at the Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi, a research and training institution.
“But it would be difficult to implement,” she told this newspaper.