• Health ministry releases new set of health warnings for tobacco packs

    • August 22, 2019
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    The Union ministry of health and family welfare on Wednesday notified new sets of specified health warnings for all tobacco product packs that will be applicable from September 1, 2019.

    The ministry in April, 2018, had made amendments to the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Rules, 2008, that was called “Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Second Amendment Rules, 2018”.

    The amended Rules were applicable with effect from September 1, 2018.

    The two images were to be printed on the pack in a said format of all tobacco products manufactured or imported, and the image would be rotated by a new set of images after the completion of twelve months from the date of commencement of first image.

    Telephone Quit-line number– 1800-11-2356– is also the part of the health warning.

    “This helps in creating awareness among tobacco users, and gives them access to counselling services to effect behaviour change. There shall be one common specified health warning for both smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco products,” said health ministry in a statement.

    The toll free Tobacco Quit-line Service provides counseling and strategies for quitting tobacco use.

    As per the recent second round of Global Adult Tobacco Survey [GATS -2, 2016-17] conducted in the age group 15 years and above, 61.9% of current cigarette smokers, 53.8% of current bidi smokers and 46.2% of current smokeless tobacco users thought about quitting because of warning label on packets of cigarette, bidi and smokeless tobacco.

    However, there is a section of experts who want to the warnings to be modified for better efficacy.

    “When this notification came in April 2018, I had suggested to the National Tobacco Control

    Programme division of government of India to add the word “early” in new health warnings to read “tobacco causes early painful death” so that it becomes more effective in its impact,” says Dr SK Arora, additional director health, Delhi government.

    “It is well known that smoking or tobacco use shortens life span by up to 10 years. Death can be natural but tobacco use leads to premature death,” he added.

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