Tobacco Health Warnings for World No Tobacco Day 2009
The WHO has recommended Pictorial warnings from World No Tobacco Day this year, Even in India, which has been way behind other countries with regard to tobacco warnigs, pictorial warnings are being implemented though on a much milder scale than the WHO framework recommends.
On 12th January, 2009 WHO selected “Tobacco Health Warnings” as the theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day which is observed on 31st May each year.
The WHO advocates covering 50 percent of packaging area with pictorial warnings. It is being implemented in India but covering only 40 percent of the front display area on the front is mandatory.
The rules for pictorial warnings were formulated in 2006 under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003. However its implementation was postponed thrice but following a Supreme Court order on 6th May, it is finally being implemented from may 31st.
Packs will carry pictures of diseased lungs or a scorpion unlike cigarette packets in other countries, which carry more explicit pictures. It is an attempt to make smokers realize the danger they are exposing themselves to and pictorial messages also transcend the literacy barrier.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control obligates its more than 160 countries parties to require “health warnings describing the harmful effects of tobacco use” on packs of tobacco products and recommends that these warnings be pictorial. It adopted the theme of Tobacco-free youth last year. One hopes that these efforts go a long way in reducing the menace of tobacco and in future more stringent warnings are implemented in accordance with the framework provided by WHO.