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Friday, October 5, 2012

‘Scary’ warnings from 2013


New Images On Cigarette Packs Will Deter Smokers: Activists


Mumbai: Anti-smoking activists, who were unhappy with the pictorial warnings on cigarette packs, now have a reason to cheer. 
    After a notification issued by the Union ministry of health and family welfare, a new set of graphic warnings will be enforceable from April 2013. 
    Activists claimed the earlier warnings have not been effective in deterring smokers. Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, oncologist from Tata Memorial Hospital, who has been working against 
cigarette and tobacco products, said pictorial warnings serve as a deterrent to a first-time user. 
    "The tobacco industry has exploited loopholes in these notifications to subvert the law," Chaturvedi said. "They alter the image 
in such a way that it becomes meaningless. Moreover, the cigarette industry chooses the least graphic warning —photo of a lung —that has literally no impact on a user's mind." 
    There will also be a few additions in the written warnings too. The word 'warning' will be printed in red and manufacturers will have to maintain a ratio (75:1) of the health warning to ensure that pictures are not distorted with change in size of packs. 
    However, the written warnings may not help much in compelling smok
ers to quit, say doctors. "Nearly 20-25% of Indian children are users of tobacco and nearly one-third users in India are illiterate," said Chaturvedi. "They cannot read the warning printed in Hindi or English. Pictorial warnings work better for them," he added. 
    "Considering that Australia has passed a law that mandates plain packaging of cigarettes packs to discourage branding, we are still a long way to get the message across to a user," said Surabhi Shastri, general manager of 'Smokefree Mumbai' campaign.

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