Harsher pictorial warnings on tobacco packs from Dec 1 (Lead)

May 28th, 2011 - 10:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) After a delay of nearly a year, the health ministry has approved harsher pictorial warnings for cigarettes and chewing tobacco products to be implemented from December this year.

The warnings will carry gory pictures of mouth and lung cancer on smoke packets and non-smoke pouches.

The health ministry Saturday issued a notification to provide for strong pictorial warnings for both smoking (cigarettes, bidis, cigars etc.) and smokeless or chewing forms of tobacco products.

Keeping up with the demand from the tobacco industry, however, these warnings will be now rotated every two years instead of existing duration of one year.

Four new pictorial warnings on smoking tobacco packs are comparatively milder, three of them showing X-ray depiction of human lung with cancer. The fourth shows mouth cancer in an advanced stage.

The pictures on chewing tobacco products are, however, harsher and depict extreme form of oral cancer with gory pictures disfigured lips, cheeks, jaws and teeth due to oral cancer.

The harsher warnings were earlier supposed to be implemented from June 2010, which was delayed to December 2010, and then further.

The civil society welcomed the move, saying the it will be more effective in controling tobacco use.

“The new warnings are better than the current warnings. The effort has to be recognised since it took the government long to come up with the warnings,” Bhawna Mukhopadhyay, executive director of Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), told IANS.

She, however, said that the warnings for the smoking tobacco packs looked weak.

“Warnings issued for smokeless tobacco appear realistic while the pictures for smoking are weak. The tobacco industry was already geared up to face the action. I think this won’t deter them in any way,” she added.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey carried out in 2009-2010, 35 percent of adults use tobacco in some or the other, and among them, 26 percent adults use smokeless tobacco and nine percent were smokers.

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