Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has written to Defence Minister Arun Jaitley to ban tobacco products in Army canteens. In the letter Mr. Vardhan said that the Defence Ministry should revisit its policy of making available cigarettes and other tobacco products at a discount to the members of the services.
Vardhan also added that all Defence establishments, including naval ships, should be declared as no smoking zones. The Health Minister has been controversial right from the beginning. His comments on sex education in schools were majorly discussed.
However Minister Vardhan seems to be very serious on containing usage of tobacco. He asked all the states and union territories to impose 50 percent VAT [Value Added Tax] on tobacco and make them less affordable.
The number of male smokers in the country has increased to 105 million from 83 million in the past one decade and this ill-effects on health force over 15 million people into poverty every year.