Tobacco pictorial warnings to be rotated
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Last Updated: Monday, March 15, 2010, 22:18
New Delhi: The photograph of a cancer-affected mouth, which will replace the "softer" pictorial warnings of scorpion and lung on cigarette and other tobacco products, from June one is being brought about as part of a mandatory rotation of the pictures.

The specified pictorial health warning rules notified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on May 31, 2009, have to be rotated after every 12 months and the next rotation is due on the same date this year.

In a notification issued last week, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has zeroed in on the picture with a caption saying "Tobacco causes mouth cancer".

The picture was finalised after the Government in collaboration with NGOs carried out studies in seven states and came to the conclusion that only hard-hitting pictures can have any impact on people used to smoking or chewing tobacco.

"The new warnings are more stronger in comparison to the warnings currently being displayed on the packets," a senior Health Ministry official said.

The pictorial warnings had been imposed in 2008 after a decision by a Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

As a signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the Ministry has to rotate the health warnings on tobacco product packs on a regular basis.

Tobacco is the foremost cause of preventable death in the world today. In India, tobacco attributable deaths currently range between 8 lakh to 9 lakh per year. The cost of the tobacco attributable burden of just three groups of diseases (cancer, heart disease and lung cancer) was estimated at Rs 30,833 crore in 2002-03.

According to experts, evidence shows that one of the most effective ways to warn the public about ill-effects of tobacco use is to put pictorial health warnings on all packages of tobacco products.


First Published: Monday, March 15, 2010, 22:18

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