India: 85% pictorial warnings required

The new pictorial warnings notification by Government of India mandates 85% pictorial warnings on both sides of the tobacco product packages. The notification was issued on 15 October 2014 and is to come into effect from 1 April 2015.

Of the 85 per cent space of the warning, 60 per cent will be devoted to pictures while 25 per cent will be covered by text. Currently, the size of the warning is 40 per cent.

“We have issued a notification today which will make it mandatory for tobacco companies now to devote 85 per cent space on the cigarette packs or any other tobacco products for pictorial and textual warnings against the perils of tobacco,” announced health minister Harsh Vardhan. “Tobacco means only death. I have seen this closely, effects of tobacco as an ENT surgeon,” said Vardhan, who has been a practicing doctor.

India now equals Thailand in requiring pictorial warnings covering 85 per cent of both sides on cigarette and other tobacco productsÂ’ packages.

Implementation will take place from 1 April 2015, which is intended to give time to tobacco companies to change their packaging.

UPDATE: On 1 April 2015, the notification is kept in abeyance.

For more information please contact Mr Amal Pusp Director, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the Government of India (amal.pusp@gmail.com). 

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