Pictorial warnings on tobacco likely to be put off again

Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss’s ambitious plan to introduce pictorial warnings on tobacco products is likely to be put off once again....

Written by Teena Thacker | New Delhi | Published:January 22, 2009 11:23 pm

Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss’s ambitious plan to introduce pictorial warnings on tobacco products is likely to be put off once again.

It is learnt that the Group of Ministers will meet on Friday to delay the plan,giving the tobacco industry a reprieve.

Once decided,this will be the sixth time that the deadline will be deferred. The idea was meant to be originally implemented

under court orders in February 2007. The Government,however,has been postponing it primarily due to pressure from the tobacco lobby.

“The GoM doesn’t want to take chances,keeping in view the elections ahead. Therefore,this “unexpected” meeting will be held on Friday,” sources added.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had issued a notification in August last year,asking all cigarette,bidi and gutkha companies to prominently display pictorial warnings on the packing of their products showing the harmful effects of tobacco consumption.

The GoM,headed by Union External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee with members including Oscar Fernandes,Jaipal Reddy and Kamal Nath earlier changed the pictures,making it milder as the tobacco companies had objected to the selection of strong images for display on their packets.

It is expected that the GoM will take a final call on this plan after the elections take place.

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