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K’taka HC order on pictorial warning on tobacco products a setback: Experts

Prime News, Nation, (New Delhi), January 8:-Health experts on Sunday said the implementation of a Karnataka High Court order–striking down the 2014 amendment rules that mandated 85 per cent pictorial health warnings on tobacco product packages was a setback to the government’s trendsetting initiatives on tobacco control.

Pictorial warnings in India were effective as there was 6 per cent reduction in tobacco use and 81 lakh lives were saved as per the recently released Global Adult Tobacco Survey results, said Pankaj Chaturvedi, Oncologist, Tata Memorial Hospital.

“The judgement of the Karnataka High Court is a setback to the government’s trendsetting initiatives on tobacco control,” he said.

Chaturvedi said a recent study had claimed that the high court order’s implementation might bring down India’s ranking for package warning. It would be an embarrassment for India as similar warnings on tobacco packs were upheld by the courts in other countries such as Sri Lanka, Australia, United Kingdom (UK) and Canada.

He is also a member of the pack warning committee set up by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

According to the GATS 2016-17 by the MoHFW, 62 per cent of cigarette smokers and 54 per cent of bidi smokers said they had thought of quitting because of the 85 per cent pictorial warnings. Forty-six per cent of smokeless tobacco users also said they had thought of quitting because of the warnings.

“I urge MoHFW to keep its commitment of Swasth Bharat and defend its trendsetting decision of having 85 per cent pictorial health warnings on tobacco products that has made India a global leader,” said Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman, Surgical Oncology, Max Health Care, said.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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