Lauding a new initiative by the Union Government to introduce a toll-free helpline to help people quit tobacco and enhance pictorial warnings and text messages covering 85 per cent of the packaging of tobacco products, the Consumers Legal Protection Forum (CLPF), Assam said the new measures would prove to be effective deterrents particularly for the young generation, who have started using tobacco. The Union Health Ministry has released new pictorial warnings for packets of cigarettes, bidis, and chewing tobacco with effect from September 1, 2018. The Government has also introduced a ‘Quit Line’ number to be printed on all tobacco products.
CLPF Assam secretary Ajoy Hazarika said textual warnings “Tobacco causes cancer” and “Tobacco causes painful death” shall appear in white font on a red background and the words “Quit today, Call 1800-11-2356” shall appear in white font on a black background in tobacco products.
India is currently ranked third in international rankings for package warnings, as outlined in the October 2016 Canadian Cancer Society Report, and the Cigarette Package Health Warning International Status Report.
The recently-released Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-17 by the Union Health Ministry had put to rest all apprehensions about the effectiveness of the warnings, since 62 per cent of cigarette smokers and 54 per cent of bidi smokers said they thought of quitting because of the 85 per cent pictorial warnings.