New Delhi: A majority of Indians want stringent pictorial warnings on tobacco products to warn smokers against the hazards of consuming tobacco, said a survey released here Friday.
The Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth (HRIDAY) and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) conducted the survey among 5,300 people in the last 15 days.
"Only seven percent people are in favour of the current diseased lungs warning compared to 82 percent who opted for the notified mouth cancer warning (to be enforced from Dec 1) to be the most effective pictorial warning," it found.
The scorpion warning as well as the lung X-ray warning, currently also being used on tobacco products, also got a thumbs down from the public.
"While six percent voted for the lung X-ray warning, only five percent felt the scorpion warning was effective in conveying the harmful effects of tobacco use.
"It was encouraging to see that people of all ages - both men and women - connected so well with the issue. They wanted to understand why Indian warnings are so weak when world-over strong warnings are used," said Monika Arora, senior director of HRIDAY.
Speculations are rife that the implementation of pictorial health warnings Dec 1 will be delayed further due to mounting pressure from the tobacco industry.
Tobacco control organisations across India have been advocating tirelessly to present scientific evidence to garner public support against such decisions.
"At this crucial juncture, when the decision for pictorial health warnings is being made by the policymakers, we want them to recognise, register and respond to the clearly expressed views of Indian citizens to be better informed about the ill-effects of tobacco use," said K. Srinath Reddy, president of PHFI.