Anti-tobacco group cries foul over cut in space to warnings

May 5th, 2009 - 11:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) An anti-tobacco group Tuesday urged the Election Commission to take notice of the central government move to cut down pictorial health warning area on all tobacco products, including cigarette packets.
The Advocacy Forum for Tobacco Control (AFTC) alleged that to negate the efficacy of the pictorial warnings on tobacco products, a group of ministers (GoM) Sunday issued an order stating that the health warnings can appear only on one side of the product.

The order has scaled down the warning display to 20 percent of the principal display area, the AFTC said.

It had been earlier decided that tobacco products would carry pictorial warnings on both sides of their packs, covering 40 percent of the principal display area.

The GoM was counting tobacco votes over tobacco deaths, the AFTC said in a statement.

“The apparent urgency of the GoM to revisit and alter the rules pertaining to the pictorial warnings at a time when the general elections are in progress, with the code of conduct in force, is uncalled for and amounts to a colourable exercise of power,” the statement said.

“This is a serious issue of concern, considering that the warnings have not only been delayed, but have also been cut down.”

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