News Karnataka
Wednesday, February 28 2024
Bengaluru

‘HC ruling on pictorial warnings is a setback to India’s image’

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tobaccoBengaluru: Terming the Karnataka High Court’s ruling on pictorial warnings as a huge setback to India’s global image, anti-tobacco activists and oncologists said “it is critical to protect our youth from the dangers of tobacco and we must do everything to defend the government’s decision of 85 per cent pictorial warnings on all tobacco packages”.

The High Court on Friday struck down the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Amendment Rules, 2014, that mandated 85 per cent pictorial warnings on all tobacco products sold in India. The current pictorial warnings on both sides of all packs of cigarettes, bidis, and all forms of chewing tobacco products came into effect from April 2016 upon the direction of the Rajasthan High Court, and subsequently the Supreme Court of India. It has been in effect for almost two years.

“We don’t still know what Friday’s Karnataka High Court Order exactly says as the lawyers present in court are giving out contradictory versions of it. However, if the Bench has struck down the 85 per cent pictorial warnings, then this order is a major setback for public health,” said U.S. Vishal Rao, oncologist and member of the State government’s high power committee on tobacco control.

“It is critical to protect our youth from the dangers of tobacco, and we must do everything to defend the government’s decision of 85 per cent pictorial warnings on all tobacco packs,” he said.

The recently released Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-17 by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had put to rest all apprehensions about the effectiveness of the warnings. The survey had shown that 62 per cent of cigarette smokers and 54 per cent of bidi smokers surveyed had thought of quitting because of the 85 per cent pictorial warnings on the packs.

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