Karnataka: Implement tobacco vendor licensing, students urge govt | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The Karnataka government must fast-track steps to introduce licensing to sell cigarettes and other tobacco products in the state to restrict children, mainly teenagers, from accessing these products, said a section of students and teachers who are part of the Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka.
A licensing system is already in place in states like Maharashtra, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Rajasthan.
On Wednesday, a section of students, teachers and members of the consortium, urged the government to implement a vendor licensing process immediately to control the menace of mushrooming outlets near educational institutions.
They called for a licence similar to that issued to liquor vendors. At present petty shops prominently display tobacco products and there are no measures to ensure they do not sell to children. Violators who hold trade licences often get away with petty fines.
SJ Chander, convener of the consortium, said the issue should be addressed quickly. “We request parents, teachers and child rights activists to come forward and petition the state’s urban development department to implement a licensing system at least by the start of the new academic year when schools are likely to reopen after the Covid crisis eases,” Chander said.
The consortium has collected close to 3,000 letters penned by students and teachers in support of the campaign.
Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Private Schools in Karnataka, said: “In the absence of vendor licensing, it’s a free run for sellers and a bleak future for our children.”

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Sagar Biswas

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