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India, Pakistan, Nepal must Resist Pressure from Tobacco Industries

by Julia Samuel on March 24, 2015 at 6:41 PM
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India, Pakistan, Nepal must Resist Pressure from Tobacco Industries

India, Pakistan and Nepal have planned to implement stricter tobacco control regulation. The delegates of the World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) have urged these countries to stand firm against the tobacco industry pressure. They also affirmed their support to all countries that have passed or are considering adopting plain packaging or graphic health warnings covering more than 85% including India, Pakistan and Nepal in a declaration.

Another suggestion by the WCTOH was that, substantial and regular increases in tobacco excise taxes would raise price and make tobacco less affordable. The price inflation can effectively reduce tobacco consumption and improve public health, as well as generate additional revenue that can be spent on healthcare.

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Following the speculation that the Indian government may delay the introduction of pictorial images covering 85% of the tobacco product pack which was scheduled on April 1, 2015, Khagaraj Adhikari, Minister for Health, Nepal said, "We will be introducing gory pictorial images covering 90% of tobacco product packs".

In spite of the immense pressure from the tobacco industry, Nepal ministry of health and population passed a comprehensive regulation, which includes introduction of large graphic health warnings, bans on tobacco advertising and sponsorship, and a smoke-free law.
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Nearly 37% of people in Nepal consume some tobacco in some form. Tobacco industries have filed 16 cases against the implementation of the law and currently two are pending after winning 14 cases. "I hope India will do, what we have done," Adhikari said, adding there were several obstacles but he did not 'compromise'.

Nepal won the Bloomberg Philanthropies Award for its effort to control tobacco use through 'warning about the dangers of tobacco with pack labels and mass media'.

Source: Medindia
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