Skip to content Skip to navigation

Activists decry India's deferment of pictorial health warnings on tobacco products

Civil society in India has strongly condemned the recent decision of the Group of Ministers (GOM) in India to defer the implementation of pictorial health warnings on tobacco product packages which was to come in to effect from November 30, 2008. The pictorial warnings have been deferred, again, till at least end of May 2009.

This decision of GOM is very unfortunate and has appalled the public health community across the country, said members of Advocacy Forum for Tobacco Control (AFTC). By repeatedly postponing the implementation of pack warnings on tobacco packages, the government is failing from performing its important duty to provide essential information to make Indian consumers aware of the effects of tobacco, particularly to the vulnerable poor and the illiterate, further said AFTC members.

“The decision to defer and unduly delay the mandatory placement of pictorial health warnings on tobacco products is a cynical abdication of governmental responsibility to protect people’s health by providing them much required information on the deadly effects of tobacco consumption” said Dr K Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India.

“The government should set up strong and transparent mechanisms at the highest levels to prevent industry interference in the implementation of tobacco control measures and policy making processes. Since the tobacco industry sells a product that kills one million people in India annually, therefore, industry’s interests will always be in conflict with the nation’s public health and economic aspirations” remarked Bhavna B Mukhopadhyay, Senior Director, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI).

Article 11 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) imposes a time bound obligation on each of its signatory parties, of which India is also a part, to implement pictorial health warnings on tobacco product packages within 3 years of its coming into force. The deadline for India to implement pictorial health warning was 27 February 2008. It’s a national shame that India, once considered a global leader in tobacco control has repeatedly failed to enforce this provision of pictorial health warnings. Countries across the world (who are party to FCTC) have unanimously adopted international standards for implementing the international tobacco control treaty that mandates health warning labels that cover 50 percent or more, and no less than 30 percent, of tobacco packaging and feature effective pictures of health conditions caused by tobacco.

“The news of postponement of implementation of pictorial warnings was most unfortunate. Especially because it came within a day of unanimous adaptation of guidelines for article 11 of FCTC dealing with the packaging and labeling of tobacco products by the Conference of Parties of 160 governments meeting in Durban, South Africa on November 22, 2008. The Government of India was present in that meeting and the decision was applauded by the entire global community” noted Luther Terry Awardee Dr PC Gupta, Director, Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health.

The decision to defer the implementation of already diluted, delayed and long overdue pictorial health warnings on tobacco packages is nothing but retraction of India’s commitment to FCTC. By deferring the implementation of graphic warnings, the international position of India will be pushed much below from the 34th position that was accorded to India in the recent international status report adopted by Canadian Cancer Society to a much lower ranking.

"It is high time that national tobacco control policies in India are congruent to what India is obligated to do by ratifying the international global tobacco treaty - Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Last week in the global meeting, India adopted the strong guidelines for Article 5.3, to protect health policies from tobacco industry interference” remarked Bobby Ramakant, from the Indian Society Against Smoking, Asha Parivar, who also represents Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT).

Civil society organizations strongly urges to the Indian government to implement the graphic warnings without further delay. The government must act now to protect Indian citizens, especially the vulnerable children and illiterates from serious health hazards caused due to tobacco consumption.

- Shobha Shukla

The author teaches Physics at India's Loreto Convent and has been writing extensively in English and Hindi media. She serves as Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS). Email: shobha@citizen-news.org, website: www.citizen-news.org
Author info

editor's picture

Please send your comments to editor@assamtimes.org

Comments

Dr Jayakrishnan.T's picture

Very good. I am a faculty in medical college. My article on this issue will be published in ijme -April issue.

Pages

Add new comment

Random Stories

Encephalities vaccination campaign at Demow

10 Oct 2011 - 3:32am | mridulburagohain
Sivasagar district encephalities vaccination (SA 14-14-2) campaign started on Sunday for first time in the Country. 15 to 65 years old people will be included in the campaign. The programme began...

BSS conference concludes

23 Jan 2016 - 7:16pm | Hantigiri Narzary
The 55th annual conference of Bodo Sahitya Sabha concludes today at Mugacharan Brahma Fwthar, Bhiranggaon in Chirang district after two days colourful programme. Dr Kameswar Brahma,president of the...

Massive security for Lok Sabha polls

31 Mar 2014 - 3:20pm | AT News
Assam is gearing up to ensure a free and fair Lok Sabha polls. The state is prepared to procure at least 235 companies of security forces to help the Election Commission ensure smooth conduct of the...

Gogoi campaigns for Ranee

2 Apr 2014 - 11:45am | AT News
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has urged the people to judge the Congress governments in Delhi and Dispur by the performance during the last ten years.Addressing a poll rally in Silapothar to campaign...

Other Contents by Author

Wanna do online journalism? You can do if you are confident and workaholic. Need only an online training. We at Assam Times are ready to help you translate your dream in this roaring job. Come January 1, 2018. Register now for online course free of cost and get the advantage. Manned by a team of sharp and dedicated journos of international repute we are coming up from the new years day.  
Yet another witch hunting incident fans no less shock and anger across the on Monday two days after it came to light. The incident took place at a remote helmet in Chirang district bordering Bhutan where thr body of the victim was recovered on Saturday. Identified as Guneswar Basumatary, the local resident of Koila Moila near Dotom was believed to have been killed alleging witch craft.  According to family members,Guneswar went missing on September 16 evening he visited his relative's house at Koila Moila area. Family members lodged an FIR with Amguri PS,case number 45/2017, under section 302/201 IPC. During a search operation, police and family members recovered body in decomposed...
A local magistrate in Nagaon on Friday remanded Mithu Roy to two days police custody after the trader was produced before it in connection with the recent incident where he and his associates thrashed four former ULFA rebels who approached him for fund to feed the flood hit people.  According to allegations, he was the main culprit who hired a few local associates to beat up the youths who were raising fund.  He was arrested on Thursday as he was on the run as police arrested his three associates on Wednesday afternoon.  Meanwhile, a huge gathering in the central Assam town demanded examplary punishment of the accused youths saying that they...
A candle lighting rally was  carried out at Salakati in protest against killing of ABMSU leader Lafikul. The was organized by ABMSU and was participating by ABSU, AKRSU, bengali Federation, Santhali Student's Union and many organizations. The rally was started from Salakati anchalik Abmsu office and concluded at Railway gate. Thousands housands of activists from various student's union and civilians participated and demanded early arrests of main culprits.The ABMSU demanded CBI inquiry into Lafikul murder,arrest main culprits and provide safety and security to the persons of the region. Moinuddin Ali,ABMSU leader said that main culprits should be nabbed  as soon as possible...
United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) said The Nagas Nation has lost a true and uncompromising Nationalist. "In the creation of Western South East Asia geographic identity with an organic soul giving hope to even the smallest nationality of the region opportunity to get just political representation amongst the family of Nations reflects his deep understanding and vision in keeping with his superb statesmanship".  Describing him as a 'Grandee' of the indigenous citizens of the WESEA region, ULFA(I) chairman Dr Abhizeet Asom in his condolence message to media said "as the Chairman of United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia, he brought an affinity amongst the...
Amid an escalating controversy over beef consumption, yet another leader has quit BJP in Meghalaya suggesting a setback for the saffron party in the pre poll political landscape.  North Garo Hills BJP president Bachu Marak pulled out of the party after the national party spokesman Nolin Kohli warned him against a beef party in Tura to celebrate the three years of the NDA government at the Centre. Marak, who pulled many people to BJP in the Congress ruled state rued in his resignation letter to state party president Sjibun Lyngdoh made it plain and simple that he would never go against the sentiment of the  Garo people for whom beef is an inevitable item at any feast. He...
A crucial meeting of BPF and AGP leadership with Amit Shah is clearing the decks for the expansion of Sarbananda Sonowal cabinet slated for April 15. Senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma along with AGP president Atul Bora, his BPF counterpart Hagrama Mohilary is meeting the BJP president in New Delhi on Monday where the entire process would be finalized. Sources told www.Assam Times that Bongaigaon legislator Phani Bhushan Chaudhury is likely to be inducted in the cabinet from AGP. Both AGP and BPF will have one each in the cabinet while BJP will have six new faces in the expanded cabinet. Those who are attending the close door meet include Hagrama Mohilary, Arul Bora, Hemant Biswa...
In a bizarre incident that triggers statewide anger and surprise, the police have arrested a top ranked officer in Dispur on bribery charges on Tuesday before recovering more than Rs 1 crore from his possession.He is none other than Kujendra Doley, the irrigation secretary who alleged to have been collecting lakhs of rupees from the contractors for releasing their bills.Acting on a complaint from a contractor, the sleuths of the vigilance and anti corruption cell caught the secretary red handed and seized an astronomical amount of money from his office locker he allegedly to pay minister Ranjit Dutta.Then Doley was taken to his residence in the city and Rs 10 lakh were seized in cash during...