Cigarette makers denying link between smoking and COVID-19 risk: Maharashtra govt to HC

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that it was flooded with responses from several cigarette manufacturers, who have denied links between smoking and a higher risk of COVID-19 infection.

The statement was made by Maharashtra Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, before a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni.

The bench had last month asked the state government if such a link existed, and had said the state should consider a temporary ban on the sale of cigarettes and beedis.

The bench reminded the state government of its question on Thursday.

“We know that smoking affects lungs and we know that COVID-19 affects the lungs,” the court said.

AG Kumbhakoni, however, said the state authorities were still going through the responses they had received from cigarette manufacturers and other stakeholders and was yet to draw a conclusion.

“We have been flooded. They (manufacturers) have sent us so many documents all denying any link,” he said.

The court will continue hearing the matter next week.