The Global Adult Tobacco Survey -2 (GATS-2) which was conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in association has thrown light on why it is important to have pictorial warnings on cigarette packs. The study has found that the warnings play a role in motivating more than half the number of smokers quit.
The study which was conducted in association with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, government of India and the World Health Organisation has found that 73.8 per cent of cigarette smokers and 63.7 per cent of beedi smokers thought of quitting smoking because of the warning labels on tobacco products. The Karnataka Fact Sheet of the study was released in the city on Thursday.
Activists in Karnataka had expressed dissatisfaction after the Karnataka High Court had decided to quash the 2014 Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Packing and Labelling Rules) rules that mandate manufacturers to ensure 85 per cent of the pack has pictorial warnings.
The Supreme Court on January 9 stayed the order by the Karnataka High Court which sought to set aside this rule on pictorial warning.
Meanwhile, across the country, 62 per cent cigarette smokers and 54 per cent bidi smokers who were respondents of the study said they had thoughts of quitting because of the warnings on the pack.
Even with those using smokeless forms of tobacco, the study has found that 46 per cent of the respondents in India and 47.6 per cent from Karnataka were motivated to quit smoking after they saw the warnings on the packs.
GATS 2 is a national representative survey that helps countries fulfil their obligations under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of the World Health Organisation.
Dr Upendra Bhojani, member of the Institute of Public Health said that the survey has thrown light on the fact that the warnings on these packs play the role of educating people, like healthcare workers do. "Only 50 per cent respondents said that they were advised by doctors. The number of people thinking of quitting due to the labels is higher. This speaks for itself," he said.