653 doctors called for implementing 85% warning on all tobacco products from April 1.

 Tobacco claims lives why is govt bothered about industry profits ask cancer widows critics
news Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 16:19

A parliamentary committee recommendation against large pictorial warnings on tobacco products has not gone well with anti-tobacco campaigners.

A report by the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation, tabled in the Lok Sabha on March 15, said implementing the 85% warning (covering 85 percent of the face of the packaging) on all tobacco products will be “too harsh” on the tobacco industry and will result in “flooding of illicit cigarettes”.

Following this, a group of 653 doctors and presidents of various medical societies have petitioned the PMO for implementing 85% warning on all tobacco products from April 1.

Letters addressed to the prime minister and the health minister on the same subject have also been sent in the last two days.

A group of five widows of former tobacco users, the Karnataka Health Minister and the Allahabad High Court Bar Association all wrote letters stating their disapproval of the recommendation of the parliamentary committee.

“While all were celebrating Holi, our families were still struggling to overcome the grief of losing our loved ones who died because of tobacco consumption. I am appalled that the parliamentary panel has suspected the evidence linking tobacco and cancer! It is disgusting to witness that the tobacco lobby continues to influence every tobacco control policy for amassing vulgar profits. Tobacco — a small pack of Rs 10 — took away a million-dollar life” said Niku Sidhu who is still trying to come to terms with death of her husband who died in May 2015.

UT Khader, Health & Family Welfare Minister, Karnataka said in his letter, “While it is imperative that the government takes every step to protect the farmers and labourers working in this industry, it stands to fact that we cannot ignore the lakhs of people who die of diseases each year in this country due to tobacco consumption. It is every consumer’s right to know this fact and government duty to create such awareness among consumers in order to protect their lives as a right to health.”

The High Court Bar Association President, Radha Kant Ojha said, "We felt very proud when your Government issued a notification two years back to make large pictorial warnings mandatory on every tobacco product. It was the need of the hour in a country where tobacco consumption starts at tender age of 10-12 years. Needless to say that effective pictorial warning will also deter uneducated people from picking up this habit. Such strong warnings are known to provoke the tobacco users to quit this habit."

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in October 2014 had first proposed that 85% pictorial warnings on both the sides of cigarette packets.  


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