85 percent graphic health warnings now compulsory on tobacco packaging in India
New Delhi February 19, 2016: After a two-year battle, a ground-breaking development for public health has seen graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging in India quadruple in size. Large graphic images of the health consequences of tobacco use must now be displayed across 85 percent of the surface area of all tobacco packets -- a measure proven to help users quit and prevent others taking up the habit.

The move came after the High Court of Rajasthan ruled in favour of the directive, and against the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation (CoSL). The CoSL had concluded that the new packaging would negatively impact the economy and livelihoods and increase illicit trade. It recommended reducing warning sizes to 50 percent, covering one side of the pack only, and exempting bidis. The High Court of Rajasthan found that CoSL’s recommendations were not in the interests of public health.

Public Health Organisations congratulates Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for making India A Global Leader in Graphic Health Warnings on Tobacco Products and sending a strong message to the global community about India’s commitment to reducing tobacco use and the sickness and poverty it causes.

Graphic health warnings are particularly effective in countries with low literacy rates, or multiple languages, and can be a vital source of education. It has also been found that smokers underestimate the health risks associated with smoking – graphic health warnings can help de-bunk any myths. India currently has around 275 million tobacco users.
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