Now smokers would be forced to think twice before lighting a cigarette, as the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules 2008 are being implemented from May 31.
The long- awaited step is aimed at cutting down on the killer habit. All tobacco products will have to carry compulsory pictorial warnings on their packs highlighting its health hazards. The picture should cover at least 40 per cent of the principal display area of the pack.
The rule is being implemented in order to educate people about the ill effects of smoking and tobacco products. As per the Rules every package of cigarette or any other tobacco product shall contain a specified health warning, a health warning, a pictorial representation of ill-effects of tobacco use and a health message.
The pictorial warning implemented would be of diseased lungs and an x-ray for cigarette packets and a scorpion on others
"Since packaging influences the appeal of the product, we are happy that that despite several delays at least this has been done," Sutapa Biswas said, executive director, Cancer Foundation of India.
However, she felt that the pictures being used were too mild and pictures originally suggested such as the "skull-and-bones" sign and "a dead foetus" would have been far more effective.
"Other countries use far more gory pictures," she said.
Flouting the rules would attract fines up to 5,000 rupees with or without two years of imprisonment for the manufacturer and the dealer or seller can be fined up to 1,000 rupees with or without a year's imprisonment.
Earlier, the Health ministry had restricted the tobacco products from carry any message that may directly or indirectly promote a specific tobacco brand or tobacco usage.