Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Plain packaging of tobacco products is an important demand reduction, says the World Health Organization (WHO).
It reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, restricts use of tobacco packaging as a form of advertising, limits misleading packaging and labelling, and increases the effectiveness of health warnings.
For this year's World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), WHO and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are calling on countries to get ready for plain (standardized) packaging of tobacco products.
According to the WHO, plain packaging refers to 'measures to restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style.
Contradicting WHO's views, the Tobacco Institute of India (TII) has said that plain packaging of tobacco products, if adopted in India, will destroy the legal cigarette industry and boost illegal trade in the country.
Meanwhile, New Zealand said it will introduce plain packaging on tobacco products, joining a growing list of countries planning similar measures despite the threat of legal action from the industry.
Tobacco is a common risk factor for heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes. Worldwide, 1.1 billion people smoke tobacco.
World No Tobacco Day is observed around the world every year on May 31. The day highlights the health risks associated with tobacco use, which currently claims 6 million people each year worldwide.