(CHANGING SLUG)

90% cigar products comply with pictorial warnings in Assam Guwahati, Sep 20 (PTI) Ninety per cent of thecigarette products sold across Assam comply with the new rulemandating 85 per cent of package surface area to carrypictorial health warning on tobacco packets, according to arecent survey. The survey found that all leading brands of cigarettesand smokeless tobacco and bidis sold across Assam follow theguidelines mandated by central government since April 1 thisyear. The survey conducted by the Voluntary HealthAssociation of Assam (VHAA), Voluntary Health Association ofIndia (VHAI) and several other local bodies was carried out ineight states of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu andKashmir, Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan and West Bengal. The survey results showed that printing the new 85per cent warnings is practically feasible on all tobaccoproducts, a VHAA release said here today. Appreciating VHAA for the survey, state Nodal Officerof the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) Assam,Arundhati Deka said the health department and otherenforcement agencies are trying their best to make 100 percent compliance of the new pictorial health warning. "The survey proved that pictorial warning covering 85per cent of the pack area can be printed on tobacco products,contrary to claims made by the tobacco industry that it ispractically not feasible," Deka said. The ministry of health and family welfare has alreadyissued directions to the authorities concerned in this regard. The Assam home department recently issued instructionto all superintendents of police and deputy commissioners toimplement the new pictorial rule in "letter and spirit". PTIESB PR ARDPS

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