In a move aimed at protecting the environment and supporting the domestic matchbox industry, the Indian government has imposed an Import Ban on Cigarette Lighters priced under ₹20. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) issued the ban on June 29, 2023, encompassing all types of pocket lighters, including gas-fuelled, non-refillable, and refillable ones.
Tamilnadu Angle for Import Ban on Cigarette Lighters
This decision has been well-received by the matchbox industry, which has been facing stiff competition from inexpensive, single-use plastic lighters imported from China. The industry, concentrated primarily in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, employs approximately 100,000 individuals.
Kathiravan, the secretary of the Tamil Nadu Match Manufacturers Association. He expressed appreciation “The prohibition on importing cheap lighters is a commendable step that will aid the domestic matchbox industry. These plastic lighters contribute significantly to pollution, and their importation has been detrimental to our local industry.”
Moreover, the ban is expected to have a positive impact on the environment. Single-use plastic lighters are a significant source of plastic pollution. And their importation was estimated to result in approximately 200 tonnes of plastic waste annually in India.
As per the DGFT notification, the import ban will undergo a review after two years. However, industry experts believe that the ban is likely to become permanent, considering its potential benefits.
In addition, the prohibition on importing cigarette lighters priced under ₹20 is part of a broader government initiative to combat plastic pollution in India. In 2022, the government implemented bans on the production, sale, and importation of various single-use plastic items, including straws, bags, and plates.
Additionally, the government is actively promoting the adoption of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics.
The import ban on cigarette lighters priced under ₹20 represents a significant stride. The government’s endeavor to safeguard the environment and foster sustainable development. It is a measure that is expected to garner appreciation from both the domestic matchbox industry and environmental organizations.