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...and the Tobacco Mece

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 March 2016 12:00 AM GMT

What one fails to understand is why every good intention of the Union government has to fall by the wayside simply because of a contrary decision to modify such initiatives in the interest of the people. Apart from the safety measures proposed for cars that are about to be scrapped, we have something even more unfortute relating to the warning proposed to be issued on packets of tobacco. On October 14, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had issued a gazette notification mandating the display of specified health warnings covering 85 per cent space on each side of tobacco packets. This warning was to have been implemented from April 1, 2016. Recently, the Parliamentary Committee on Subordite Legislation (CoSL) mandated that the health warning on the front and back of tobacco packets was limited to 50 per cent of the space and not 85 per cent as proposed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Given the persistence of smoking and other use of tobacco in India, the Health Ministry’s objective of making health warnings much more prominent was a well-conceived objective in public interest. The recent directive of the CoSL reducing the size of the health hazard warning has turally come as a blow to those dedicated to the treatment of cancer and NGOs concerned with the health hazards posed by tobacco. Dr A.C.Kataki, Director of Dr B. Borooah Cancer Institute is deeply distressed by the action of the CoSL and the Voluntary Health Association of Assam (VHAA) has submitted a memorandum to J.P.dda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare requesting him to retain the decision of having 85 per cent space for the health warning. The question is: Who would want a good decision on tobacco products reversed except those in the tobacco industry? But should the government listen to them?

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