Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has notified new sets of specified health warnings for all tobacco product packs. In this regard, it has made amendments in Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Rules, 2008. The amended rules will be applicable w.e.f. 1st September 2018.
Union Health Ministry maintains pictorial health warnings on packs of tobacco products are most cost-effective tool for educating people on the health risks of tobacco use. The warning on all packs of tobacco products have tobacco causes cancer and tobacco causes painful death written in white on red background accompanied with quitline number. Study conducted by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) had found that about 46% of illiterate men smoke, whereas only 16% of college graduates are hooked to tobacco.
Features of new rules
Under it, Government has released two separate set of images. The first set will be used on tobacco products from September 1, 2018 for period of 1 year, whereas second set of images will be used from September 1, 2019. Besides, images quit line number is also pertinent feature of new warning. It mandates packaging to display “Quit Today Call” number which is online on-call assistance facility launched for those people seeking support to quit use of tobacco products.
The new rules also mandates all people engaged directly or indirectly in production, supply, import or distribution of cigarettes or any tobacco products to ensure that all tobacco product packages have the specified health warnings exactly as prescribed. Violation of above provision will be punishable offence with imprisonment or fine as prescribed in Section 20 of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.