85 pc of space on tobacco packs to be covered with warning
New Delhi: From April next year, 85 per cent of space on cigarette packs and other tobacco products in India will have to be mandatorily covered with graphic and text warnings about adverse health effects, becoming the country with the highest element of warning on packages.
A notification in this regard was issued by the Union Health Ministry today.
Of the 85 per cent space, 60 per cent will be devoted to pictoral warnings while 25 per cent will be covered by textual warnings.
At present, the space covered by the warning is 40 per cent.
“We have issued a notification today which will make it mandatory for tobacco companies now to devote 85 per cent space on the cigarette packs or any other tobacco products for pictoral and textual warnings against the perils of tobacco,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan announced at an event here organised to celebrate the Global Handwashing Day.
“Tobacco means only death. I have seen this closely, effects of tobacco as an ENT surgeon,” said Vardhan, who has been a practising doctor.
With this, India will join Thailand where also 85 per cent of space on cigarette packs and other tobacco products is covered with warnings.
With the new measure, India will now rank first in the list of 198 countries that warn smokers about the hazar s of smoking through graphic pictures on cigarette packages.
In Australia, it is 82.5 per cent and in Uruguay, it 80 per cent.
Earlier, India had slipped to 136th position, according to a new report ‘The Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report 2014′ released yesterday.
Implementation will take place from April 1,2015, which is intended to give time to tobacco companies to change their packaging.
By not enforcing pictorial warnings on both sides of a cigarette pack as is mandated by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control India ranked last among other SAARC nations that have graphic health warnings.