Bengaluru: In order to discourage consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products, the Union Health Ministry has released a new set of pictorial warnings, which will come into effect from September 1. As per the new norm it has been made mandatory to have 85 per cent pictorial health warnings on both sides of the packets of cigarettes, bidis, and chewing tobacco.
For the first time the Centre has introduced ‘Quitline’ number to be printed on all tobacco products. The packets would state ‘quit today call 1800-11-2356’ and it would appear in white font on a black background.
"The implementation would definitely hit the new consumers that are added yearly to the market. But, we need strict implementation and enforcement of this order," said Dr Vishal Rao, oncologist and a member of High Power committee on tobacco control Karnataka.
"Pictorial health warnings on tobacco products are the most cost-effective tool for educating on the health risks of tobacco use. In a country like India, where people use several languages and dialects, the pictorial warning transcends the language and even illiteracy barrier," he added.
As per the global adult tobacco survey (GATS 2016-17) the 85 percent pictorial warnings on all cigarettes, bidis and chewing tobacco products sold in India have resulted in 92% of adults believing that smoking caused serious illnesses, and 96% saying that use of smokeless tobacco too caused serious illnesses.
The findings also revealed that there has been a growing demand for cessation centres as 55% of smokers and 50% of smokeless tobacco users were planning or thinking of quitting tobacco use.