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Jammu KashmirTobacco brands displaying the mandated 85% pack warnings in JK, claims study

Tobacco brands displaying the mandated 85% pack warnings in JK, claims study


Srinagar, Sep 20, CNS:  A significant number of widely-consumed popular tobacco brands of cigarettes, bidis and packaged smokeless tobacco products sold across and are displaying the new pictorial warnings covering 85 percent of tobacco product packages, a new study conducted by the Voluntary Health Association of (VHAI) has said.

The data collected during June-July 2016-two months after implementation of the new rules claims that major tobacco companies are printing the new 85% warnings on the tobacco packs thus complying with the law and as mandated by the Government of India.

“The evidence is indisputable and shows that tobacco manufacturers are capable of complying with all the provisions of the government's mandate, which includes a picture and the text message ‘Warning- Smoking causes throat/mouth cancer;” located on top in both front and back of the packs and covering 85 percent of the principal display area,” the study says.

Pertinently, a total of 100 cigarette packs were observed from 6 brands of two tobacco companies, a total of 80 bidi packs were observed from 8 brands of 8 tobacco companies and a total of 100 smokeless tobacco packs were observed from 10 brands of 10 tobacco companies, in pre-identified tobacco vendors (tobacco specialist, kiosk and small grocery stores) across Srinagar City.

The study found most of the tobacco brands to be fully compliant with the new 85 percent pictorial warnings on both sides, as mandated in the law that came into effect from 1 April 2016.

“53% of the cigarette packs were fully compliant with all the labeling requirements of the law-graphic, text content, location (front & back and top of the pack), and size (85 percent of the principal display area) of the health warning labels. 13% of the bidi packs displayed a pictorial and text health warning label that covered 85 percent of the principal display area of the pack and 47% of the smokeless tobacco packs displayed a pictorial and text health warning label that covered 85 percent of the principal display area of both sides of the pack,” the study says.

“Even though some tobacco companies are opposing in implementing the new health warnings on tobacco products, the study results show that implementing 85 percent pictorial warnings on tobacco products is possible as well as practical and tobacco companies are abiding by the law. The Government must now strictly enforce the new rules as health warnings on tobacco packages are a direct, cost-effective means of communication to inform the health risks of tobacco consumption to the consumers, new users and illiterate masses,” Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Association of India, said.

“This study demonstrates that the Government made the right decision when it forged ahead, despite resistance by tobacco industry and mandated 85 percent pictorial health warnings to protect millions of Indians from the growing tobacco epidemic. These new and larger pictorial warnings will allow people to see clearly the devastating truth about tobacco consumption that leads to death and disease for majority of its users. Scientific studies demonstrate that larger pictorial warning labels on tobacco products are an effective way to inform users about the dangers of tobacco dependence, motivate consumers to quit, and prevent youth from starting to use tobacco,” she added.

“The new health warnings also need to apply to imported cigarettes and other tobacco products that are being sold by vendors across the state,” said Afzal Makhdoomi, VHAI's state consultant on tobacco control.

He said that the sole intent and purpose of large pictorial health warnings is to create awareness about serious and adverse health consequences of tobacco usage, especially among youth, children, illiterate, semi-illiterate and the initial users, who are either the primary users of tobacco or who may be vulnerable to using tobacco products.

Importantly, 26.6% population of in the state is using tobacco product in one or the other of its form. Out of these users 41.6% are males and 10.3% females. The average age at daily initiation of tobacco use is 17.3 years in adults, 17.5 years in males and 14.9 years in females, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.


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