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VHAA hails India’s progress to Ranks No 3

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  11 Nov 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Dramatic leap for India in warning on tobacco packages

GUWAHATI, Nov 10: The Voluntary Health Association of Assam (VHAA), an NGO, has welcomed the India’s advancement to the 3rd position out of 205 countries that have pictorial health warnings on tobacco packages. India’s earlier ranking was 136 in 2014 and 123 in 2012.

This was revealed by Cigarette Package Health Warnings Intertiol Status Report which was released today by Cadian Cancer Society in Delhi, India, at the 7th session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), being held from November 7–12 at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, a press release said.

Government of India mandated the new pictorial health warnings covering 85 per cent of tobacco product packages from April 1, 2016.

The report ranks 205 countries and territories on the size of their health warnings on cigarette packages and lists countries and territories that require graphic picture warnings. The report shows a significant global momentum toward plain packaging with 4 countries requiring plain packs and 14 working on it. The report also shows that 105 countries and territories have required picture health warnings on cigarette packages. This significant milestone in global public health will reduce smoking and save lives.

This is the 5th Cadian Cancer Society intertiol report on cigarette package health warnings. Previous reports were published in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

“By implementing 85% pictorial health warnings front and back on all tobacco packages, Indian Government has set up an example for making India A Global Leader and sending a strong message to the global community about India’s commitment in reducing tobacco use and the sickness and poverty it causes,” said Ruchira Neog, Executive Secretary, VHAA.

Cigarette package warnings are a highly cost-effective way to increase awareness of the negative health effects of smoking and to reduce tobacco use. Picture-based warnings convey a more powerful message than a text-only warning, and larger ones increase impact. Picture warnings are especially valuable for low- and middle-income countries where there are higher rates of illiteracy and where governments may have few resources, she added.

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