The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on August 20, 2018 notified new sets of specified health warnings for all tobacco product packs.
The new set of health warnings was notified through an amendment in the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Rules, 2008.
The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Second Amendment Rules, 2018 are applicable from September 1, 2018.
‘Quit Today’, ‘Tobacco Causes Cancer’ and ‘Tobacco Causes Painful Death’ warnings
All packs of tobacco products will now have ‘Tobacco Causes Cancer’ and ‘Tobacco Causes Painful Death’ warnings written in white on a red background.
The words ‘Quit Today Call 1800-11-2356’ will be inscribed in white on a black background along with the pictorial warning from September 2018. The quit line number 1800-11-2356 is an online on-call assistance facility launched for those people seeking support to quit the use of tobacco products.
Specified health warnings
• The government released two separate set of images. The first set will be used on tobacco products for a period of 12 months, beginning from September 1, 2018.
• All tobacco products manufactured or imported or packaged on or after September 1, 2018 shall display first set of image and those manufactured or imported or packaged on or after September 1, 2019 shall display second set of image.
• 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.
• Violation of any provision is a punishable offence 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.
The new health warnings came following the ruling of the Supreme Court in August 2018 itself that tobacco products would continue to carry pictorial warning covering 85 percent of the packaging space.
The apex court on January 8, 2018 stayed the Karnataka High Court order, which overturned the 2014 government regulation that packets of tobacco products must carry pictorial warning covering 85 percent of the packaging space.
The decision was taken by a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. The bench took the decision saying that the ‘health of a citizen has primacy’ and emphasised on the importance of public health and the harmful effects of tobacco products.
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