Golden Tobacco Ltd became first company in India to implement 85% pictorial health warnings

Apr 13, 2016 12:12 IST

Golden Tobacco Ltd. in April 2016 became the first company in India to implement the Union Health Ministry’s Cigarettes Packaging Amendment Rules, 2014. As per it, both sides of the cigarette packs shall display specific health warnings in 85 percent of the area as against the present 40 percent.

Now, the packets of several brands of the company, namely Brands Panama and Golden Gold Flake, manufactured from 1 April 2016 will carry larger images.

Breaking the ranks, the company in a statement noted that the aim of implementing the order of carrying larger pictorial warning rule was to “create awareness about the serious and adverse health consequences of tobacco usage”.

It also called the warning “practical” and the opposition of the rule by other tobacco product manufacturers is “baseless”.

Union Ministry of Health proposed COTPA (Amendment) Bill 2015

Cigarettes Packaging Amendment Rules, 2014

• The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare notified the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014 on 15 October 2014. 

• It came into effect from 1 April 2016.

• It amended the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2008.

• It prescribed that health warnings covering 85 percent of principal display on both sides of the packets apply to all tobacco brands, cigarettes, beedis and non-smoking tobacco.

• Out of 85 percent principal display area, 60 percent of the package should cover pictorial health warnings and 25 percent should cover textual health warnings.

• The warning shall be positioned on the top edge of the package and in the same direction as the information on the principal display area.

• Textual health warning shall appear in not more than two languages used on the package.

• The specified health warning shall be rotated every twenty-four months from the date of commencement of these rules.

The rules were opposed by the tobacco lobby with several Indian tobacco product companies deciding to stop production from 1 April 2016.  As per the Tobacco Institute of India, whose members account for 98 percent of cigarette manufactured in India, the move will result in an estimated daily loss of 350 crore rupees to the tobacco industry.

However, according to statement of Golden Company limited, there would be no adverse affect on the livelihood and manufacturing of tobacco and related products. Since the introduction of the earlier 40% warning on tobacco packs in 1995, tobacco leaf production in India grew 47% from 566000 metric tonnes to 830000 metric tonnes in 2013.

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