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Karnataka government to increase age for purchase of tobacco products

Karnataka Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao on Tuesday said the state government will take steps to increase the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years. In this regard, the government will be bringing in amendments to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, he told reporters here.

Also, the government is mulling not to give permits to hookah bars in the state, the minister added.

The decision was taken at a meeting held by Rao with Health Department officials along with Sports Minister Nagendra at the Vidhan Soudha here where they also discussed banning of other tobacco products in public places.

Speaking after the meeting, the Health Minister said apart from schools, the sale and consumption of tobacco products had been banned around temples and hospitals.

He said the government will also increase the age limit to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 years.

Rao said that youngsters are increasingly attracted to hookah bars and that it has an adverse effect on their health. As hookah bars have become an alternative for consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products for youths, the Health Minister said, “We have discussed bringing in amendments to the Act…We have discussed issuing a government order in this regard in the days to come. The wording and legal aspects will be discussed and decided.” Rao said today’s youth are losing their precious future by being addicted to drugs. In this background, we have taken a firm decision to root out illegal activities.

After consuming tobacco, youths were attracted to drugs and substance abuse. Tobacco use laid the foundation for all this and so we have started to correct it at the source, he added.

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