Appeal: Write to Group of Ministers reviewing pictorial warnings on tobacco products

Appeal: Write to Group of Ministers reviewing pictorial warnings on tobacco products

(The list of ministers with their contact details is given below at the end of this posting)

Civil society activists have strongly condemned the repeated postponement and eventual dilution of the provisions of The Cigarette and other Tobacco products Act 2003, on displaying pictorial warnings on tobacco products in public health interest.

In spite of an urgent call for action by the shimla High court and the civil society, Government of India has not indicated a final decision on the date of nature of warning. It was deferred from June 1, 2007 and postponed four times thereafter.

Tobacco claims around 1 Million lives per year in India. The tall is likely to exceed to 2 Million per year in the next 20 years. Unsuspecting poor and uneducated people are not only the most hard-hit by life-threatening tobacco hazards, but also a substantial portion of their daily earning goes up ‘in smoke’, and later in treatment of tobacco-related health hazards. The low literacy rates in India demand the need to display Pictorial warnings on the products. However, the Government has turned a nelson’s eye to the reality, possibly influenced by the pro-tobacco industry lobby.

Both the Tobacco Industry and Government have a duty to communicate clearly and honestly about the often-deadly health risks of tobacco use to potential and current consumers.

Government of India seems to have fallen prey to the misleading argument of tobacco industry that the display of pictorial warnings would invite decline in consumption, thereby causing unemployment. This is untrue as the decline in consumption is likely to remain steady for next two decades. Moreover, it will be offset by the growth in population.

Pictorial warnings have been introduced in several developing & neighboring nation like Thailand, Singapore, and Brazil, Chile, S. Africa and others with demonstrated benefits to public health.

A Group of Ministers (GOM) has been convened by the Indian Prime Minister to examine the issue. This group includes Shri Pranab Mukharjee (Minister for External Affairs) Shri Jaipal Reddy (Minister for Urban Department), Shri Priyaranjan Dasmunshi (Minister for Parliamentary Affairs), Shri Kamal Nath (Minister for Commerce) Shri Oscar Fernandes (Minister for State Labour and Employment) and Dr Ambumani Ramdoss (Minister for health & family welfare).

This GOM is likely to be biased in favor of the tobacco lobby. Shri Pranab Mukharjee for instance has a massive presence of bidi workers in his constituency. Andhra Pradesh, from where Mr Jaypal Reddy hails, is also a tobacco growing state.

Therefore it is important to write to these ministers individually and let them know the public health concerns.

Dr Shekhar Salkar,
General Secretary, NOTE India.
Ph: 9822485769


Group of Ministers (GOM) reviewing pictorial warnings on tobacco products in India

Mr. Pranab Mukherjee
Permanent Address: 2-A, 1st Floor, 60/27, Kabi Bharti Sarani
(Lake Road), Kolkata-700029,
Tel: (033) 24648366

Shri Jaipal Sudini Reddy
H.No. 6-70, Village and Mandal Madgul,
Distt. Mahbubnagar-509 001 (Andhra Pradesh)

Shri Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi
Present Address: 7, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi - 110 003
Tels.(011) 24653778, 24653895
Fax.(011) 24653727
Permanent Address: 6A, Rani Bhawani Road,
Kolkata- 700 026 (West Bengal)
Phones: (033)4640707,4640505
Fax: (033) 4640202

Shri Kamal Nath
Present Address: 1, Tughlak Road, New Delhi - 110 011
Tels. (011) 23792233, 23793396, 23011300
Permanent address: Vill. Shikarpur, P.O. Linga, Distt. Chhindwara - 480 001(Madhya Pradesh). Tel.& Fax.(07162)242233

Shri Oscar Fernandes
Present address: 8, pandit pant marg, New Delhi-110001
Permanent address: Doris Rest Haven, Ambalpady, Udupi, Karnataka-575103.

Dr Anbumani Ramadoss
Permanent address: New No.10, Old No.44, Kamatchi Amman, Koil Street, Distt. Villupuram, Tindivanam 604001