Tobacco-related diseases claim around 10 lakh lives annually in India. World Health Organization (WHO) representative to India Henk Bekedam, in a statement, said that the economy has been losing around Rs. 1,04,500 crores every year because of the tobacco-related diseases.
The WHO has expressed its concern over the debate around reduction in size of health hazard warnings on Bidi and smokeless tobacco products. Advocating larger pictorial warnings on tobacco products, Bekedam called for intensifying the drive to make people aware of the ill-effects of tobacco.
The Supreme Court is hearing several petitions on the size of health warnings on tobacco products. It has to be noted that India stands 136 among 198 countries ranked in a report on health warnings on cigarette packs.