Chennai: NDA ally PMK, which has been campaigning against liquor and tobacco use, Thursday welcomed the Centre's proposed steps to curb smoking, but expressed doubts over success since their implementation lay with the state governments.
Party leader and Lok Sabha member Anbumani Ramadoss, who as the then Health Minister in UPA-I regime implemented a blanket ban against smoking in public in 2008, welcomed the proposals including banning sale of loose cigarettes, increasing age limit for smoking from 18 to 25, and hiking fine amount from Rs 200 to Rs 20,000.
Ramadoss said the treatment costs towards persons suffering from ailments caused due to tobacco usage had surpassed the tax revenue from such goods.
"Therefore, the taxes on cigarettes should be increased by 500 per cent. This will result in a decrease in number of smokers while the government will earn more revenue which can be utilised for medical treatment for persons affected from consumption of tobacco," he said in a statement here.
Expressing doubts about the successful implementation of the proposals, he said "It is a proven fact that state governments do not implement such rules and regulations."
He said that his own smoking ban initiative was not properly implemented by state governments and urged Centre to ensure that the latest proposals do not face a similar fate.
Ramadoss also wanted beedi to be included under the taxation regime like cigarette and stressed for publishing of warning pictures covering 85 per cent of cigarette and beedi packs.