Nagaland introduces Tobacco Vendor Licensing to curb tobacco use and cancer

Nagaland has become the first state in India to introduce Tobacco Vendor Licensing (TVL), a mechanism to regulate the retail sale of tobacco products and enforce the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA 2003). The modalities for TVL in Nagaland were approved by the state government on January 16, 2024, and circulated to all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) on February 6. The move comes in the wake of the Union Health Ministry’s directive to all state governments in 2021, recommending licensing of tobacco vendors as a key measure to curb tobacco use and cancer in the country.

The TVL process involves granting permission and authorization to retail shops selling tobacco and/or nicotine products through the ULBs. The applicants have to apply to the ULB concerned, and pay a fee, which varies depending on the type of shop. The ULB will grant the TVL within two months, and the license will be valid for one year, subject to renewal. The license will not be granted to vendors within a radius of 300 feet of any educational institution or other youth-oriented location or residential zones. It will also not be granted to vendors operating by roadside or kiosk locations. The TVL will be granted only to those vendors who already have a trade license from the municipal authorities, and the number of licenses per ward will be limited to one for every 1,000 population. The TVL holders have to comply with the provisions of COTPA 2003, and refrain from selling tobacco alongside other specified products, such as in pharmacies, and products appealing to children, like biscuits, chocolates, soft drinks, etc.

A way to curb illicit trade and enhance revenue to the civic body

The TVL mechanism is expected to curb the illicit trade and sale of tobacco products, which pose a serious threat to public health and safety. The mechanism will also help in monitoring and tracking the tobacco vendors, and ensuring that they follow the rules and regulations of COTPA 2003, such as displaying statutory warnings, not selling loose cigarettes, not selling to minors, etc. The mechanism will also enhance the revenue to the civic body, as the TVL fee will be collected by the ULBs. The ULBs have the right to impose penalty or cancel the TVL and the trade license for breach of any of the terms and conditions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *