The move is aimed at ensuring youngsters do not get addicted to tobacco products, a top Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official said.
On Monday, when the Supreme Court takes up the issue of pictorial warnings on cigarette packs and tobacco products, it would also scrutinise whether the textual warning about cancer should be printed or not.
Earlier, the high court had struck down the 2014 amendment rules that mandated the pictorial health warning to cover 85 percent of the tobacco product packaging space.
The letter was prompted by a Reuters investigation last month that revealed how Philip Morris was deploying marketing tactics in India, some targeting young people, that officials said were illegal.
The latest WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic found that 4.7 billion people--63 per cent of world's population--are covered by policies such as strong graphic warnings, smoke-free public places or other measures.
The second Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2) report pegged that the number of tobacco users in India had gone down by 81 lakh.
The PIL names the government, state-run insurers, including LIC, and the insurance regulator, and says that the investment is contradictory to government’s measures to tackle tobacco-related problems.
The analysis published in The British Medical Journal said South Asia with a population of 1.1 billion adults has about 170 million adult smokers – and mostly from India – and very low rates of cessation.
The livelihood of nearly 4.6 crore farmers depends on the tobacco crop, which already sees imposition of high taxation due to the health problems caused by it.
The council, which met in the national capital, approved the state GST (SGST) and the union territory GST (UTGST) bills. The bills will now have to be cleared by Parliament and state assemblies.
The 15 per cent cess cap would apply on luxury cars and aerated drinks. On pan masala, the cess has been capped at 135 per cent ad valorem.
Even as the GST Council granted approval to all five draft laws, industry experts feel clarity is required on several fronts ahead of the proposed July 1 rollout.
The Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising representatives of all states, may also take up capping the cess to be levied on demerit goods like luxury cars and tobacco products for creation of a corpus that will be used for compensating states for any loss of revenue from GST implementation in the first five years.
In a letter to the Finance Minister, the state-based outfit has pointed out that classifying different products in lower rate slabs will lead to distortion and prompt users to switch to lower priced products including beedis, damaging their health in the process.
The Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA), a body representing farmers across states, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat, said the increase in excise duty on cigarettes will lead to further drop in earnings of domestic tobacco growers.
The non-profit organisation representing farmers across the states, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Gujarat, appealed to Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, to avoid "the onslaught of heavy taxation on legal cigarette industry" and help bring stability in farm prices of tobacco.
BAT will purchase the 57.8-per cent of Reynolds American that it does not already own, BAT said, unveiling an improved cash-and-shares offer after the US giant had rejected its previous USD 47-billion bid.
BAT, which already owned 42 percent of Reynolds, will pay USD 29.44 in cash and 0.5260 BAT shares for each Reynolds share, it said, a 26 percent premium over the price of the stock on Oct. 20, the day before its first offer was made public.
Besides, the GST Council hearing out concerns of specific industry representatives is a welcome move, they said, adding suggestions like centralised registration and single assessing authority would be favourably considered by the Council.
The Sensex was up 406.34 points or 1.6 percent at 26213.44 and the Nifty ended up 124.60 points or 1.6 percent at 8032.85. About 1679 shares advanced, 862 shares declined, and 193 shares were unchanged.
Cigarette stocks are rallying with ITC up 3 percent. Tata Steel, Adani Ports, Lupin and Cipla are other gainers while GAIL, Hero MotoCorp, HDFC, Bharti Airtel and ONGC are losers in the Sensex.
With a view to address public health issues, government is considering to bring manufacture of 'other tobacco products' like khaini, tobacco blended pan masala, hookah or gooduku tobacco, zarda and bidis under the ambit of compulsory licensing.
Underlining the regulatory pressures facing the tobacco industry, a British court also on Wednesday rejected an appeal against new rules prohibiting the use of marketing such as logos or colours on cigarette packs.
Currently, FDI is permitted in technology collaboration in any form, including licensing for franchise, trademark, brand name and management contracts in the tobacco sector.
After briefly slipping below 8100 just before closing, the Nifty ended at 8111.60 up 3.15 points and the Sensex was down 5.94 points at 26298.69. About 1056 shares advanced, 1543 shares declined, and 155 shares were unchanged. ITC was hammered 3 percent at closing. ITC, Sun Pharma & Kotak Mahindra Bank dragged index the most.