Himachal vendors protest ban on sale of single cigarettes

Shimla, Nov 17 (IANS) Cigarette vendors across Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday staged a protest in the state capital, seeking revocation of the ban on sale of single cigarettes and withdrawal of the proposed legislation to introduce license for selling them.

“The ban on single cigarettes has threatened our livelihood. Most people buy a single cigarette that gives us more profit than the sale of packets,” seller Ramesh Chand told reporters.

Around 200 vendors, who sell cigarettes along with confectionary items, backed by regional cigarette distributors under the banner of Bidi Cigarette Vikreta Sangh, staged the protest.

The state on November 4 banned the sale of single sticks of cigarette.

Health Minister Kaul Singh has said the objective of the ban was to dissuade the youth from tobacco use.

The vendors were of the opinion that the licence system for selling cigarettes would only increase the problems for the vendors as it would give way to ‘Inspector Raj’.

They said the non-availability of loose cigarette would lead the youth to take to illicit cigarettes and other forms of tobacco.

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