In the recently released report (The Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report)by the Canadian Cancer Society at the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), India ranks 5th in strong pictorial warnings on cigarette packs in the world.The report which was released in Geneva revealed that there was tremendous international momentum for plain packaging of tobacco.
Not only this, the measures taken by the Indian Government to curb use of tobacco, has resulted India to be the only SAARC country to have quit-line number on their tobacco products and the 4th country in Asia after Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore to do so.
Graphical health warnings on tobacco products are the most cost-effective tool for educating consumers on the health risks of tobacco use. GATS-2 has revealed that there has been a growing demand for cessation centres as 55% of smokers and 50% of smokeless tobacco users were planning or thinking of quitting tobacco use because of the pictorial warnings. This has been possible because of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s notification on the new set of 85% pictorial health warnings for mandatory display on both sides of the packets of cigarettes, bidis, and chewing tobacco with effect from September 1, 2018. Government of India for the first time introduced Quit Line number to be printed on all tobacco products. The work of the Indian government is much appreciated by Consumer VOICE as MrAshimSanyal, COO of Consumer VOICE states that “it appreciatesthe Indian Government’s stand on having 85% graphic health warnings on all forms of tobacco products including bidis and chewing tobacco, without exception.”
In India, the current pictorial warnings on both sides of all tobacco packages of cigarettes, bidis and all forms of chewing tobacco products came into effect from April 2016 upon the direction of Rajasthan High Court and subsequently Supreme Court of India and has been in effect for almost 2 years.
Consumer VOICE and its state partners has been at the forefront of tobacco control movement for several years and vigorously protested last December when High Court of Karnataka had struck down the pictorial warning size from 85% to 40%.
Media Coverage: Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report” released by the Canadian Cancer Society