India: Health Minister Urges Ban on Tobacco Sales

    Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

    India’s Union Health Minister Harsh Vardam on May 15 asked health ministers for all Indian states and union territories (UTs) to prohibit tobacco product sales and spitting in public to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

    Vardam noted that smokeless tobacco users tend to spit in public places, increasing health risks, especially those of spreading contagious diseases like Covid-19, tuberculosis, swine flu and encephalitis.

    “Use of smokeless tobacco also creates an unhygienic environment which further spreads the diseases,” he added.

    “Large gatherings at the retail outlets where smokeless tobacco products are sold also pose the risk of spread of Covid. By banning spitting in public places, states and UTs can help in achieving not only Swachh Bharat [clean India] but also Swasth Bharat [healthy India],” said Vardam, referring to a 2014-2019 campaign from to improve solid waste management in India.