Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei
New Delhi: Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Friday said that the government will go ahead with prominent health warnings on cigarette packets.
Nadda rebutted the controversial statement made by two BJP members of a parliamentary panel questioning the linking of tobacco with cancer, saying there was a direct link between the two.
Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, Nadda indicated that the government would go ahead with its decision to increase the size of pictorial warnings on the package of tobacco products.
"There is a direct relation between the consumption of tobacco and cancer. The ministry is consistent and crystal clear in its efforts to reduce tobacco consumption. We will go ahead once the panel submits its report," Nadda said.
The Health Minister added that there are some procedural problems with implementing pictorial warnings.
However, Nadda did not say if his ministry continued to stick to the earlier decision about the size of warnings or was open to make some changes.
Replying to supplementaries, he said "the relative risk for death due to tobacco use in studies from rural India is 40 percent to 80 per cent higher for any type of tobacco use; 50-60 percent higher for smoking, 15-30 percent higher for tobacco chewing in men and women. Tobacco is carcinogenic. It is directly linked to cancer."
Earlier, panel's head and BJP MP Dilip Gandhi had said that there was no Indian study to confirm tobacco use leads to cancer, leaving the government embarrassed and rival parties gunning for him.
The medical fraternity also slammed him for his shocking and absurd remarks.
(With Agency Inputs)