The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has directed Chief Secretaries of states and Union Territories to ensure implementation of a new set of health warnings with enhanced pictorial images on all tobacco products after a recent amendment in the law.
Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, has asked all top bureaucrats of states and UTs to reinstate health warnings with enhanced pictorial images on all tobacco products as per the latest amendment to the rules of Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.
After the amendment, the latest rules are now called as Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (packaging and labelling) third amendment, 2020. The amendment has been done through a notification issued by the Health Ministry, which came into force from December 1.
As per the rules, the health warning on tobacco product packages should be rotated every two years. The rules were lastly amended in April 2018. It mandates display of specified health warnings on both sides of tobacco product packages covering 85 per cent of principal display area.
Health Ministry asserted depiction of specified health warnings would bring greater awareness
The Health Ministry asserted that the depiction of specified health warnings would bring greater awareness and sensitisation about the serious and adverse health consequences of tobacco use, especially among the youth, children and illiterate.
"Effective implementation of the rules depends on the concerted efforts of all the concerned ministries, departments under the government of India as well as the state governments," the directions by the Health Ministry read.
Worldwide, tobacco use is a serious public health concern affecting the youth. A vast majority of tobacco users start using tobacco well before the age of 18 years which has enormous psychosocial and health effects.
The consumption of tobacco among the youth is a matter of great concern. As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 11.9 per cent among young people in the age group of 15 to 24 years are addicted to some form of tobacco consumption.