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Pack warnings on tobacco not implemented in Assam

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  17 April 2016 12:00 AM GMT

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, April 16: Despite of Rajasthan High Court’s standing orders and Health Ministry’s notification, 85 % pictorial warning on tobacco products is not implemented in Assam.

It is surprising to note that as per the Union Health Ministry, the implementation of pictorial warning of 85 per cent should have been visibly displayed on both sides of the all tobacco packets from April 1, 2016.

Meanwhile, two weeks have already been passed but the tobacco companies are selling the same old packets. Implementing the Central Government’s orders, the Governments of Maharashtra, Bihar and Goa have seized tobacco products worth crores of rupees.

It is proven that tobacco is the main cause of cancer. As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 2010, tobacco consumption kills about 10 lakh people every year in India. In Assam, 30 lakh people use cigarettes and bidis, 71 lakh people use smokeless tobacco. One-third of these will die of heart diseases, pulmory cancers.

Dr. Amal Chandra Kataki, Director of Dr B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati said that most of the cancer is caused by the tobacco. He stressed the need for creating awareness among the people against the use of tobacco. Implementation of effective strategies such as implementation of 85 per cent pictorial pack warnings will discourage the children from consuming tobacco.

Director of Cachar Cancer Centre, Dr. Ravi Kann said that doctors and not-for-profit organizations welcome the decision of 85 per cent pictorial pack warnings implementation by the Government and expect that the State Government will deal with the tobacco Industry firmly in order to reduce prevalence. Such a step may help the youths and the children from keeping away themselves from the use the tobacco or like product. Dr. Kann said that the Federation of All India Farmers’ Association is meticulously misleading the general public and Governments that these will enhance the illicit trade. The economic burden due to diseases by tobacco in India is Rs 1 lakh crores.

The Union Health Ministry in its affidavit before the Rajasthan High Court - The Cigarette and other Tobacco (Packaging and Labeling) Amendment Rules, 2014 will come into force with effect from April 1, 2016. All the States were asked by the Ministry of Health to implement the orders. But, regrettably, the same has not been taken into consideration and implemented by the concerned authorities in Assam. Cancer patient Sushila Singhi, speaking on this, mentioned that such rules will save many lives.

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