Public health advocates and social activists are upset with
a statement by a politician that we should study the health effects of tobacco
on Indian population before making policies against its use.
The worse blow is that the statement is part of a report submitted by Dilip Gandhi, an MP from Ahmednagar to the union health ministry.
Gandhi is the chairman of the committee on subordinate legislation that the pictorial warning covering 85% of the packages of tobacco products as opposed to the current 45%.
"It is shocking that a senior MP is so poorly informed about the facts pertaining to harmful effects of tobacco. Industry all over the world has admitted that their product is harmful, therefore they agreed to adopt pack warning as part of their manufacturer liability. In fact, tobacco is the only consumer product that kills every third consumer," said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck surgeon from Tata Memorial Hospital and an anti-tobacco activist.
Dean of city's Government Dental College Dr Vinay Hazarey said that 85% pictorial warning is an internationally accepted practice. "It has already proven effective in other countries. It is also a provision under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act (COTPA), 2003, which still awaits total compliance," he said.