Pictorial warnings on tobacco packets deferred to Dec 1

New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) The depiction of new pictorial warnings on tobacco products from June 1 has been deferred by the government by six months – to December 1 – a leading health NGO said Tuesday.

The Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) said the government notification about the change will be made public Wednesday.

‘The new pictorial warnings on tobacco products has been deferred from June 1 to December 1. This is definitely because of pressure from the tobacco industry,’ a VHAI statement said.

The new warnings will show pictures of cancerous mouths and occupy at least 40 percent of the packet area. They will be displayed on the upper portion in a bid to disuade people from using tobacco, which causes cancer, one of the top 10 killers in India.

The health ministry, under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008, and amended in 2008 and 2009, had notified the new pictorial health warnings March 5.

‘The tobacco industry claims that the entire process of new pictures on packets is cost-intensive, which is just an excuse since they keep changing the packaging of their products for better marketing. Moreover, they were notified about it a long time back,’ the VHAI statement said.

‘The present pictorial warnings are absolutely ineffective. But as part of our own research, the new warnings are very effective. Countries like Brazil change pictorial warnings every five months,’ it added.

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