For early use of pictorial health warnings

Tobacco control organisations have welcomed the Supreme Court's intervention in ensuring the early implementation of the new set of pictorial health warnings on tobacco product packages.

“The court has asked the Centre whether the new pictorial warnings on tobacco products be brought into effect from June 1. The next hearing is scheduled for January 31. Considering the earlier delays in the packaging and labelling rules, such an intervention is appreciated,” said Deepti Singh, a legal officer of HRIDAY, a non-governmental organisation working for tobacco control.

“Ironically, a number of tobacco companies started printing warnings about mouth cancer on the packages after December 1, 2010. There had been no official intimation of further deferment till the December 20, 2010, notification by the Union Health Ministry. This one-year delay was decreed over two weeks after the set date of implementation passed,” Ms. Singh added.

Consequences

In a release issued, the tobacco control organisations noted that strong pictorial warnings on tobacco products inform the people about the wide spectrum of health consequences from the use of tobacco.

Adequate information

“It is every individual's right to be adequately informed before making a decision, and effective health warnings will help tobacco users and potential users recognise the deadly consequences of consuming tobacco in any form. Tobacco control organisations have been emphasising, time and again, that each day of delay will compound the harm caused. While severe harm is being inflicted on the people by the tobacco industry, with this move of the Supreme Court, the government will have to reconsider if it can remain complicit in its duty to control the tobacco menace,” said HRIDAY's senior director Monika Arora.


  • Court: new pictorial health warnings from June 1?
  • Next hearing is scheduled for January 31