The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre and the states on a PIL seeking complete ban on smoking products in the country.
A bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha also sought response of governments on the plea to stop the telecast of smoking advertisements.
At the beginning of the hearing, the bench expressed reservation in entertaining the plea saying that it is for the lawmakers to decide but agreed to hear after the petitioner submitted that tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health hazards and the court should intervene to handle the menace.
"Smokers are ten times likely to get lung cancer and emphysema as nonsmokers. Smoking, in fact, is responsible for 90 per cent of all cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, often called commonly as smoker's asthma," advocate Aditya Agarwal, appearing for the petitioner, said.
He submitted that amount spent by governments for curing diseases arising out of smoking is more than the revenue generated from the tobacco products and smokers are two and a half times as likely as non-smokers to suffer a stroke.
"Smoking is a silent killer- within seconds after tobacco smoke is inhaled, some 4000 toxic by-products are absorbed into bloodstream and transported to every cell of body. It is the only substance known to mankind that affects every system and functioning of the human body," petitioner Sunil Rajpal, a Mumbai-based filmmaker, said.
"There's hardly a part in the human body that is not affected by the chemicals in the cigarettes you smoke," the petition, filed through advocates Parul Singh and Rahul Kumar, said.