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Tobacco License in India – Brief Overview

calendar09 May, 2020
timeReading Time: 3 Minutes
Tobacco License in India

Attaining a Tobacco license in India has become a mandatory thing in most of the states of our country to sell, manufacture, or import tobacco products. When it comes to getting a tobacco license in India, the process is not as strict as obtaining a cigarette license. Many state governments in India have introduced the vendor licensing system, and they are seriously working on the same. Enrolling tobacco vendors involves a lot of complexities as there are a massive number of shops in our country. Our state and the central government is giving importance to make a licensing policy mandatory for tobacco license in India in order to bring the unregulated business of various tobacco products under the government’s observation.

In case, tobacco vendors violate rules concocted by Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003,[1] and they might end up losing their license and getting the permit to deal in tobacco products again won’t be easy for them at all. Vendors need to ensure that they have got their shops and license authorized by the municipal authority before obtaining a tobacco license in India. Those vendors who are selling tobacco products must not keep non-tobacco products like biscuits, chocolates, soft drinks, etc. as these items will lure children of all age groups. States have improved their compliance with COTPA by implementing and enforcing vendor licensing so that all the sellers would abide by the rules and guidelines related to manufacturing, selling, importing of cigarettes or other tobacco products.

How to Obtain Tobacco License in India?

Obtaining tobacco license in India has become the need of the hour as the government want to safeguard the future of children below the age of 18. Furthermore, the government is proceeding further for the surveillance of tobacco vendors that whether they are following the COTPA guidelines along with the other health guidelines or not.

  • There is a strict provision regarding the prohibition of selling cigarettes or other tobacco products to any children who are below the age of 18. If you want to get the license for tobacco products or cigarettes, you have to follow this guideline anyhow.
  • No person shall advertise tobacco products or cigarettes by any means. To get permission for tobacco license to sell as well as manufacture tobacco products, Tobacco vendors must follow this restrictive guideline. Restrictions are also there on the sponsorship of tobacco or any kind of publicity of such sponsorship. Showcasing or exhibiting advertisement in forms of handbills, posters, films, videos, etc. also comes under the restrictions by tobacco control laws. However, warehouses or shops that are offering sale and distribution of tobacco products or cigarettes can display advertisement of tobacco products and cigarettes if they want. No restrictions are applicable to these shops or warehouses, and thus, they are free to display posters and ads at the entrance gate or inside their venues.
  • Tobacco vendors must ensure that they won’t mislead customers by misrepresenting labeling or packaging, like mentioning luring terms on the tobacco products and cigarettes. As per the specified rules under the guidelines related to tobacco licensing, the label of the product must depict the specific warning so that it can spread a strong message amidst the public and create awareness as well. However, it’s up to them whether they will learn something from them or simply ignore it. Production, distribution, supply, and import of cigarettes or other tobacco products should keep things simple and easy to understand by showing pictures revealing about the harmful effects of consuming these products.
  • Tobacco control laws in India prohibit the tobacco products sale in the range of 100 yards of educational institutes located in India. Besides this, some states have banned the sale of gutka and single cigarettes and various forms of smokeless tobacco while some states are planning to conduct sale process but with restrictions.
  • Licensed vendors must act in accordance with the provisions that Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, and Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 have set up. This provision state that the sale of non-tobacco products on the tobacco shops draws the attention of children who can’t understand the difference between right and wrong. Also, it would get considered as shrewd marketing practices.
  • Those who are willing to take a tobacco license in India for selling tobacco products must be aware of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and also they should know that punishable offences would have to bear the consequences.


Those who are craving to obtain tobacco license in India must follow the licensing guidelines and Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA). Furthermore, it’s essential to bring all the tobacco products and cigarettes under a regulatory structure. Since the tobacco industry is mainly keeping their eyes on youngsters and thus, bringing vendor licensing and implementing it properly would make the things fair for one and all. The way the government is overlooking in this matter, one thing is clear that this framework would push the sector towards being better.

Read our article: Procedure for Obtaining Liquor License in India

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