The Center has been urged by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to implement 85% pictorial health warnings on both sides of all tobacco packages from April 1.
The IMA has written to President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Health Minister JP Nadda and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in this regard.
‘Doctors and medical professionals urged the Indian government to implement pictorial images that cover 85% of all tobacco product packages.’
Globally, India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products with 275 million adult users. Doctors and medical professionals witness the debilitating effects of tobacco use on a daily basis. Tobacco use causes serious diseases like cancer, heart diseases, respiratory diseases and stroke.
Dr ss Agarwal, National President of IMA, said, "Pictorial health warnings (PHWs) are the most effective way of communicating the ill-effects of tobacco use, particularly among those with low literacy or no formal education. They are more effective than audio and text communication."
"India will be hosting the Conference of Parties (COP7) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in November," said Dr Agarwal.
"Given the unbalanced report of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation submitted in Parliament during the Budget session, any reduction in the size of warnings from 85% norm will appear as the government succumbing to tobacco industry pressure and backtracking from the commitment made at COP6 in Moscow," Mr Agarwal said.
"The medical fraternity strongly favors large pictorial health warnings as an effective measure. The COP7 to be held in Delhi in November is a perfect opportunity for India to take the lead and demonstrate its commitment."
"The Indian Medical Association has published an evidence-based white-paper on tobacco control and will continue to assist in creating a repository of innovative and effective health messages conveying the multiple health effects of tobacco use," he said.