New law about tougher warning about tobacco goes into force

New Delhi: The new law making it mandatory for all tobacco products to carry stricter pictorial warnings came into force today but its implementation was not visible on the ground.

According to the new Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2012, notified on September 27, 2012, all tobacco product packs in the country were to carry new pictorial warnings notified by the Union Ministry of Health from April 1 onwards.

A set of three warnings each was notified by the Health Ministry for smoking as well as smokeless forms of tobacco product packages that all tobacco products were required to carry on their products from today.

Despite the new law coming into force, tobacco product packs of various forms failed to carry the new pictorial health warnings and were seen carrying the old pictorial warnings.

Sources say the industry is asking for more time for implementing the notification and have already met and represented before Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and other top Ministry officials.

The Health Ministry is examining the request but the notification has not been kept in abeyance.

Any contravention of the new law entails penalty in the form of fine and/or imprisonment.

The Health Ministry has made stricter pictorial warnings on smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco to help make them much more effective than the previous ones. The new pictorial warnings focussed in detail the portion of the human body affected by tobacco use.

The Health Ministry had also for the first time inserted the word `Warning` in the new pictorial warnings and mandated that this word be printed in `red` colour along with the messages -- `Smoking kills` and `Tobacco kills`.