60% cigarette packs complying with display warning conditions

New Delhi, Sep 20 (PTI) Over 60 per cent packs ofcigarette and 46 per cent of smokeless tobacco are complyingwith the Centre’s mandated 85 per cent pictorial warningrequirements, according to a nationwide survey which assertedthat contrary to claims of major tobacco companies, printingof the new warnings was "feasible". For Delhi, the study found that 54 per cent of thecigarette packs and 55 per cent of smokeless tobacco packswere fully compliant with all the labeling requirementsmandated under the the law. The study conducted by Voluntary Health Association ofIndia (VHAI) and other health bodies urged the government tostrictly enforce the new rules, saying health warnings ontobacco packages are a "direct and cost-effective" means ofcommunication to inform about the health risks of tobacco. "67 per cent of the cigarette packs were fully compliantwith all the labeling requirements of the law – graphic, textcontent, location and size (85 per cent of the principaldisplay area) of the health warning labels. 16 per cent of thebidi packs displayed a pictorial and text health warning labelthat covered 85 per cent. "46 per cent of the smokeless tobacco packs displayed apictorial and text health warning label that covered 85per cent of the principal display area of both sides of thepack," the study said. The data was collected during June-July, two months afterimplementation of the new rules on April 1 this year in eightstates – Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir,Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan and West Bengal. Tobacco-related diseases kill about 2,500 Indians dailyand over 10 lakh every year and it is estimated that about5,500 youth and children initiate tobacco use daily whileIndia has 12 crore tobacco users, according to the GlobalAdult Tobacco Survey. "The data collected demonstrates that contrary to theclaim of major tobacco companies, printing the new 85 percent warnings is practically feasible on all tobacco products. "The evidence is indisputable and shows that tobaccomanufacturers are capable of complying with all the provisionsof the government’s mandate," the study said. During this study, a total of 786 cigarette packs wereobserved from 24 brands of four tobacco companies and 665packs were observed from seven different smokeless tobaccoproducts from 48 brands of 36 tobacco companies and 20 brandsof non-identified tobacco companies. (MORE) PTI TDS AAR RTAAR

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