To caution people about the risks of cardiovascular diseases due to the use of tobacco, renowned Indian cardiologists demanded immediate implementation of the 85 percent health warnings on both sides of tobacco packs.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are responsible for 26 percent deaths in India with tobacco a major risk factor behind these diseases. About 275 million of India's adult population consumes tobacco in some form of the other. 20 percent of premature mortality related to CVDs occurs due to tobacco use.
"People must realize the high stakes of using tobacco, not just for themselves but also their families. Tobacco use results in major CVDs, which cost India two times more than costs incurred to treat cancers. The year 2015 is crucial for tobacco control considering the United Nations adopting sustainable development goals (SDGs) that include tracking progress and implementation of the WHO-FCTC ( Framework Convention on Tobacco Control)," said Professor K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India.
"We, as guardians of heart health, are strongly committed to combining our clinical practice and efforts in preventive cardiology to highlight the role of CVDs in tobacco control policy development. It is only through measures like the 85% pack warnings that we can reach our national target of 30 percent reduction of current tobacco use. Success in reaching the SDG targets on health, especially the target related to premature mortality from NCDs, is pivotally dependent on effective tobacco control in India," he said.
The 85 percent pictorial health warnings were originally scheduled for implementation on April 1, 2015 but were delayed following a recommendation by a Lok Sabha Committee. The Committee cited lack of concrete evidence on the link between tobacco use and life-threatening diseases. But it is said to be implemented from April next year.