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Consumer VOICE welcomes 85 % pictorial health warnings on cigarette packets

Consumer VOICE welcomes 85 % pictorial health warnings on cigarette packets

Panaji, Apr 6 (UNI) Consumers VOICE, a voluntary action group of academicians, professionals and volunteers, on Friday welcomed the decision of the Health Ministry of replacing the existing images on tobacco products, and releasing a new set of 85 per cent pictorial health warnings for mandatory display on both sides of the packets of cigarettes, bidis, and chewing tobacco with effect from September 1, 2018.

Addressing a press conference at International Centre Goa (ICG) near here, Ashim Sanyal, COO Consumer VOICE, said the Health Ministry has implemented, from April 2016, large pictorial health warnings occupying 85 per cent on both sides of all tobacco packages of cigarettes, bidis and all forms of chewing tobacco products and have been in effect for almost two years. The new graphic health picture warning are much effective deterrent for younger generation to initiate for tobacco use.

India’s current international ranking for package warnings is third in the world, as outlined in the October 2016 Canadian Cancer Society Report, Cigarette Package Health Warning International Status Report that ranked 205 countries worldwide, he said, adding the entire world applauded this progressive step taken by India in tobacco control and saving human lives.

Implementing 85 per cent pictorial warnings was a landmark step taken by the Government of India and Union Health Minister J P Nadda was awarded by the World Health Organization for this major reform in public health.

The recently released Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-17 by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) had put to rest all apprehensions about the effectiveness of the warnings, since 62 per cent of cigarette smokers and 54 per cent of bidi smokers shared that they had thought of quitting because of the 85 per cent pictorial warnings on the packets and 46 per cent of smokeless tobacco users thought of quitting because of the warnings on smokeless tobacco products, Mr Sanyal said.

Dr Shekhar Salkar, Head of Department, Oncology, Manipal Hospital Goa, and President, National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication, said tobacco not only causes direct cancer but also effects various other organs causing peptic ulcer, esophagus cancer, prostrate, urinary bladder, and pancreas.

Pictorial health warnings on tobacco products are the most cost-effective tool for educating on the health risks of tobacco use, he said, adding in a country like India, where people use several languages and dialects, the pictorial warning transcends the language and in many cases also the illiteracy barrier.

UNI AKM 1435

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