New Delhi, April 16: The Cadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation has written to Prime Minister rendra Modi urging him to implement India’s planned pictorial health warnings covering 85 percent of the front and back of tobacco packages. IANS was able to access the copy of the letter written on April 14, which coincided with Modi’s visit to Cada, by Pamela C. Fralick, president and CEO of the Cadian Cancer Society, and David Sculthorpe, CEO of Heart and Stroke Foundation. “We are writing to you on the occasion of your visit to Cada to urge you to implement India’s planned pictorial tobacco health warnings covering 85 percent of the front and back of tobacco packages.” Regulations to this effect were filised in India in October 2014 but on March 26, 2015, just prior to the effective date of April 1, 2015, the Indian government placed implementation of these regulations on hold, the letter noted.
“The tobacco industry in India is using the same lobbying tactics and the same misinformation about job loss that the tobacco industry previously used in Cada.” In 2001, Cada was the first country in the world to implement pictorial warnings. In 2012, Cada increased the size of package health warnings from 50 to 75 percent. On both of these occasions in Cada, the tobacco industry was strongly opposed to new warnings, but public health prevailed. “Today, at least 77 countries and territories worldwide have implemented pictorial health warnings,” said the letter. Thailand has already implemented an 85 percent size, Australia 82.5 percent and Uruguay 80 percent. Several countries in south Asia have recently adopted requirements for an increased warning size. At present, India is ranked 136th among countries and territories worldwide in terms of package warning size. This ranking is documented in the September 2014 Cadian Cancer Society report. (IANS)