Thursday, October 2, 2008

Smoking Ban up in smoke?

On Oct 2, 2008 the world’s biggest public smoking ban came into effect in India. With 1 million people losing their life every year due to smoking, the ban was implemented to prevent smoking in public places like stations, government offices, airports, amusement hubs (theatres, malls etc), and hotels among others.

India is the third largest market for cigarettes, with up to 250 million smokers and around 102 billion cigarettes sold every year. Though it is too soon to know whether the ban would be a success or not, it did fail on the first day as the authorities were ignorant about the new law. Further, ITC along with Indian Hotel Association is planning to go to the Supreme Court in November to challenge the ban. Higher taxes, pictorial warnings and now a ban are likely to come as a big blow for India’s largest cigarette manufacturer, ITC. The company earns around 60% of its revenues from the cigarette division.

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