Include ‘early’ death on cigarette pack advisory, Delhi govt to Centre

The Delhi government has suggested that the health ministry add the word ‘early’ to its recently revised text warning - ‘Tobacco causes painful death’ - which, it said, does not clearly explain the fact that the life span of tobacco users gets shortened

Include ‘early’ death on cigarette pack advisory, Delhi govt to centre

  • The Health Ministry has amended the ‘Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008’
  • During the rotation period, there shall be two images of specified health warning which shall appear consecutively on the package with an interregnum period of twelve months.
  • ‘Tobacco causes cancer’ and the word ‘Tobacco causes painful death’ shall appear in white font colour on a red background
  • The Health Ministry had on April 03 issued a notification regarding amendments on using the new warnings and including the toll-free helpline number — 1800-11-2356 — which has been set up to help tobacco users fight their addiction by providing support and guidance.
  • Last month, the Centre had extended the duration of existing health warnings on packets of tobacco products till August 31, from its earlier deadline of March 31.

The text warnings that will be printed on the packets are ‘tobacco causes painful death’ and ‘tobacco causes cancer’. The Delhi government’s health department lauded the revised warnings saying they will have a more effective impact in prevention of tobacco use, but claimed that the text ‘tobacco causes painful death’ does not clearly explain that the life span of tobacco users gets shortened.

The revised text along with enhanced pictorial warnings and a national toll-free number to help tobacco users quit addiction, will cover 85 per cent of each packet of tobacco products from September 01.

Additional Director (Health) Dr S K Arora in his letter to the Health Ministry said death can be natural too, but cigarette smoking causes premature death.

“The life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than of non-smokers,” Arora said.

“So, the words ‘Tobacco causes painful death’ clearly don’t explain the very fact that the life span of tobacco users also get shortened. Therefore, it is suggested that if we can add the word ‘early’, the revised wordings can be ‘Tobacco causes early painful death’, will affect the mind-set of people more and the message will be more clearer,” Dr Arora mentioned in the letter.