AFTER A one-year delay, tobacco products will have larger pictorial warnings, covering 85 per cent of the packaging space, from Friday when a central notification comes into effect.
A parliamentary panel had earlier recommended a smaller warning.
The health ministry’s notification, dated September 24, 2015, for implementation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014, comes into force on April 1. The ministry had made a commitment to the Rajasthan High Court on March 28 that it would implement the rules from April 1, 2016.
The parliamentary committee on subordinate legislation had described the government’s proposal that 85 per cent of the packaging surface should carry pictorial warnings as “too harsh”, and recommended that it should be reduced to 50 per cent of the space. The stand had evoked sharp criticism from MPs and health experts.
“The committee is of the view that in order to have a balanced approach, the warning on cigarette packets should be 50 per cent on both sides of the principal display area, instead of 85 per cent of the principal display area, as it will be too harsh and result in the flooding of illicit cigarettes in the country,” the committee said in the report.
A senior official confirmed that all tobacco products manufactured from April 1 onwards will carry larger pictorial health warnings as the rules framed by the ministry have come into effect.