The Department of Health is sending a list of 112 tobacco dealers to distributors to ensure they do not supply tobacco products to unlicensed retailers.
The dealers had until 31 December to register to sell tobacco.
Dr. Kiran Kumar, medical officer of health at the Department of Health, said as of 7 January, five wholesale distributors, 112 retailers, four cigar stores and two cigar bars had registered for a certificate.
“I thought that there may be more than that,” Dr. Kumar said, but added, “On verification with one of the prominent wholesale distributors, it is learned that they supply about 104 retailers. This indicates that almost all tobacco dealers got registered.
“Now we will be sending the list of registered tobacco dealers to all wholesale distributors and ask them to ensure that they do not supply tobacco products to unregistered dealers as it is illegal to do. I expect full cooperation from them as we had good collaboration during the entire process,” Dr. Kumar said.
Under the Tobacco Law, which came into effect on 31 December, 2009, all companies or individuals selling tobacco products had to obtain a certification of registration, but they were given a grace period to get the certificates and also to display health warnings and signs. The law banned smoking in enclosed public places.
Tobacco sellers who failed to register by the 2010 deadline may still have a chance to register. “If there is anyone who missed registration, they can still apply to me with a cover letter explaining the reasons for the late submission and each case will be dealt on its own merits and registered,” the medical officer of health said.
Lists of registered dealers will also be given to the Department of Environmental Health and to police.
Officers from the Department of Environmental Health are tasked with doing routine inspection of premises that sell tobacco products and to checking out premises following complaints.
Dr. Kumar said that every tobacco dealer is required to display their registration certificate, as well as signs and health warnings, at the premises at which they sell the products.
Dr. Kumar said he was pleased with the cooperation he had received from wholesale distributors and retailers during the registration process.
“I do not anticipate any problems in compliance of the law. In addition to the government machinery to enforce, [the] public has a responsibility as all the laws are for the protection and well being of the community,” he said.