India State of Goa - stop sale of loose cigarettes and raise tobacco taxes..

March 7, 2011 - PANAJI: The National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE), a body spearheading the cause of tobacco eradication, has urged the Goa Government to increase taxes on different tobacco products and ban the sale of single cigarettes in Goa.

Goa (pronounced /ˈɡoʊ.ə/ ( listen); Konkani: गोंय) is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Goa is India's richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole. Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city.

In his memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat ahead of State's annual budget, Shekhar Salkar, general secretary of NOTE, argued that teenagers as well as the unemployed youth were more prone towards buying single cigarette as that was affordable for them.

He said there was a need to take steps to prevent the sale of loose cigarettes in the market as they did not carry any mandatory warnings as per the Supreme Court judgment.

The NOTE congratulated Mr. Kamat for helping Goa emerge on top of the list of States with least tobacco consumption, according to recent GATES survey published by the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. The NOTE had suggested a few steps to curb tobacco consumption. He said a ban on retail sale of cigarette would surely deter youths from buying a full packet of cigarette which was expensive for them.

He said that keeping in mind the recent increase in salaries in both public and private sectors, there was an urgent need to raise the tax levels by minimum 10 per cent on cigarettes, “bidis,” and “pan masala.”

Reference: ‘Ban sale of single cigarettes', Special Correspondent, The Hindu, 3/3/2011.

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