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
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.