Ensure implementation of new set of health warnings on tobacco products: Centre to states

By: |
December 6, 2020 5:05 PM

According to rule five of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, the specified health warning on tobacco product package shall be rotated every twenty-four months.

The new sets of health warnings with enhanced pictorial images on all tobacco products were notified on July 21.The new sets of health warnings with enhanced pictorial images on all tobacco products were notified on July 21.

The Union Health Ministry has asked all states to ensure implementation of a new set of health warnings with enhanced pictorial images on all tobacco products as notified by it.

According to the ministry, the depiction of specified health warnings would bring greater awareness and sensitization about the serious and adverse health consequences of tobacco use, especially among the youth, children and the illiterate.

The Union health ministry had notified the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules on March 15, 2008.

The rules have been amended from time to time for display of specified health warnings on all tobacco product packs, thereby mandating the display of specified health warnings on both sides of tobacco product packages covering 85 per cent of the principal display area.

According to rule five of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, the specified health warning on tobacco product package shall be rotated every twenty-four months.

The new sets of health warnings with enhanced pictorial images on all tobacco products were notified on July 21.

“The depiction of specified health warnings would bring greater awareness and sensitization about the serious and adverse health consequences of tobacco use especially among the youth, children and the illiterate.

“Effective implementation of the Rules depends on concerted efforts of all ministries and departments concerned of the Government of India as well as state governments. I shall be grateful, if you could kindly take the necessary steps to ensure that the provisions of these Rules are duly enforced, under your jurisdiction,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a recent letter to chief secretaries and administrators of all states.

The new set of health warnings were notified on July 21 by making an amendment in the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008 and will be called ‘The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Third Amendment Rules, 2020’. 

All tobacco products manufactured or imported or packaged on or after December, 1, 2020, shall display the first set of images while the second set of images will be displayed by the tobacco products manufactured or imported or packaged on or after December 1.

“Any person engaged directly or indirectly in the manufacture, production, supply, import or distribution of cigarettes or any tobacco products shall ensure that all tobacco product packages shall have the specified health warnings exactly as prescribed.

“Violation of the above mentioned provision is a punishable offence with imprisonment or fine as prescribed in Section 20 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003,” the health ministry had said.

According to the rules laid down under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), during the rotation period of 24 months, two images of specified health warnings as notified in the schedule shall be displayed on all tobacco product packages and each of the images shall appear consecutively on the package with an interregnum period of 12 months, a notification issued earlier read. 

The ministry had notified on September 24, 2015, for mandatory display of new health warnings covering 85 per cent of the principal display area on all tobacco products from April 1, 2016.

It also mandated printing of a toll-free quitline number from September 2018 to assist people to quit tobacco use.

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