Govt gives nod to stricter pictorial tobacco warnings
New Delhi: In a significant move that will go a long way in raising anti-tobacco awareness across the country, the government today finalised new, stricter pictorial warnings for the industry and set April 1 next year as the deadline for its implementation.
A set of three pictorial warnings each for both smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco have been approved by the Health Ministry today and sent for notification.
These pictures images will replace the currently used images including the controversial image of English footballer John Terry, whose managers had threatened the Ministry with legal action in case the image remained in circulation.
The newly approved warnings are designed to be much more effective than the previous ones and focus in detail the portion of the human body affected by tobacco use.
Also, the Health Ministry has for the first time inserted the word `Warning` in the new pictorial warnings and mandated that this word be printed in `red` alongwith the messages -- `Smoking kills` and `Tobacco kills`.
"For the first time we have fixed the ratio between the length and breadth of the pictorial warnings and the pictorial warning cannot be made to mingle with the borders of product. This means the tobacco industry representative cannot tweak or alter the images according to their whims and convenience.
Earlier, they would routinely change the dimensions of the image and render the warnings ineffective. Now they cannot do that," top Ministry sources said.
The government has also clarified that the cigarette and smokeless tobacco makers must display the anti-tobacco warnings in 40 per cent of the frontal displayed area of cigarette pack.