Tobacco products will feature a fresh set of 85% pictorial health warnings from September 1. The Union health ministry on Monday notified a new set of health warnings for all tobacco products with validity extending up to the next two years. All tobacco products manufactured, imported or packaged on or after the said date will have to display these images. The government had made an amendment to the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Rules-2008 in April. There are two sets of specified health warnings— the first set with a validity of one year and a second set that would be implemented after the expiry of the former’s validity on September 1, 2019. The second set of health warnings will be valid till September 1, 2020.
“Any person engaged directly or indirectly in the production, supply, import or distribution of cigarettes or any tobacco products shall ensure that all tobacco product packages have the specified health warnings exactly as prescribed,” the health ministry directive read. Tobacco is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) which are responsible for 26% of deaths in India. About 275 million of India’s adult population use tobacco in some form or another. Tobacco-attributable diseases and death are preventable and 20% of premature mortality related to CVDs occurs due to tobacco use. “Violation of the provisions is a punishable offense with imprisonment or fine as prescribed in Section 20 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003,” it further read.