Maharashtra became the first state in the country to put a “complete ban” on the sale of “single stick loose cigarette and beedis”. The notification issued by the public health department on September 24 aims to make sure that every consumer of these products must see the health warnings and graphics mentioned on the packet.

Maharashtra principal secretary (health) Dr Pradeep Vyas, who signed the order, said that the notification is in line with sub-section (2) of section 7 of Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply & Distribution) Act, 2003.

The Times Of India quoted Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital cancer surgeon Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi saying that the decision will have its maximum impact on the teenagers. He added that many of these teenagers can’t afford to buy packets of cigarette or beedis.

“Studies have shown that a 10 percent rise in taxes results in an 8 percent drop in the number of smokers. But if people are allowed to buy a single cigarette, they do not feel the effect of higher taxes,” he said.

According to the Global Tobacco Youth Survey 2016, Maharashtra has the lowest smoking rate in India.