New tobacco pictorial warnings from Dec 1

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Wednesday said the new pictorial warnings on tobacco product packs will be effective from Dec 1.

‘The effective date for the revised pictorial warnings will now be Dec 1,’ Azad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The new pictorial warnings have been brought in as surveys showed that the old warnings were proving to be ineffective.

A study was conducted by Hriday, a Delhi based NGO, in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Tripura to test the effectiveness of existing pictorial warnings in preventing people from using tobacco products.

More than 63 percent of the respondents felt that the warning labels were inadequate in conveying the adverse impact of tobacco use on health.

A similar study was also conducted by Healis Sekhsaria Institute of Public Health, Mumbai, which concluded that the existing pictorial health warnings on tobacco product packs were not serving the desired purpose.

The new pictorial warnings were issued by the government March 5. These were supposed to be effective from June 1 but the plan got delayed.

‘A number of representations have been received from sections of the tobacco industry apprising that the changeover to new pictorial warnings on tobacco packs entails a period of 9-10 months, necessitating additional time for compliance,’ he said.

According to a recently released Global Adult Tobacco Survey report, India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products in the world and the third largest producer of tobacco.

The report revealed that nearly 0.9 million deaths occur in India every year due to tobacco use as compared to 5.5 million deaths worldwide.

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