Large comprehensive pictorial warnings on tobacco products are more effective

Large comprehensive pictorial warnings on tobacco products are more effective

An advocacy card in Hindi language for pictorial warnings on tobacco products was released by Professor (Dr) Rama Kant, Head of Surgery Department, Chhattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU) at the UP Press Club in Lucknow today. Professor (Dr) Rama Kant is also a World Health Organization (WHO) International Awardee for the year 2005 on tobacco control.

This advocacy card produced by Indian Society Against Smoking, Asha Parivar with technical help from HRIDAY, advocates that large and comprehensive pictorial warnings on tobacco products are more effective.

“In Australia, the pictorial warnings on tobacco products are 90% back and 30% front of tobacco packs, in Brazil it is 100% either of the sides, in Canada and Thailand it is 50% on both sides, in UK pictorial warnings are on 43% of front and 53% of back sides of tobacco packs” said Professor (Dr) Rama Kant.

However in India the pictorial warnings that are going to be implemented from 31 May 2009 are mild, weak and not field tested, said Professor (Dr) Rama Kant.

As per the new rules notified on May 3, 2009, pictorial warnings would be displayed only on the 40% of the principal display area of the front panel of all tobacco packs (only ONE side of tobacco pack).

“India ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first international public health treaty of the World Health Organization (WHO) in February 2004 and is a Party to the convention. According to FCTC, the deadline for India to implement pictorial health warning was February 27, 2008. But still the tobacco products in India do not carry any pictorial health warnings. Also FCTC recommends 30 % as minimum size of display of pictorial health warnings i.e. 30% front and 30% back, which India has again not complied with” said Professor (Dr) Rama Kant.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the world. According to the World Health Organization, each year 5.4 million lives are lost all over the world because of tobacco use. Out of these 9 lakh deaths occur in India alone. 2500 Indians lose their lives each day because of tobacco use. India has the highest number of oral cancer cases in the world and 90% of all oral cancers are tobacco related and 40% of all cancers in India are due to tobacco use” said Professor (Dr) Rama Kant.