Hyderabad: Come September 1, packages of all tobacco products in the country will have a new warning that seeks to act as a stronger deterrent.
The present caution of ‘Tobacco Causes Cancer’ will be replaced with ‘Tobacco causes painful death’. And the accompanying picture will also be more graphic in portraying the harmful effects of the substance.
These warnings and pictures will cover nearly 85 per cent of the package in order to act as a deterrent for smokers and tobacco users, said Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) chief executive Bhavna B Mukhopadhyay.
Sharing details at the media sensitisation workshop on tobacco held here on Friday, she said many youngsters aged between 13 and 15 were using some form of tobacco or other. Many of them were also found to be using Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), popularly known as e-cigarettes. There was no regulation on these cigarettes, which are sold online. Most youngsters, including schoolchildren, in several instances were found to have been hooked to them, she said.
VHAI, a federation of 27 State voluntary health associations, works with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and State governments on various tobacco control initiatives. The Union government already issued an advisory to State governments on banning the sale of e-cigarettes. Accordingly, 14 States and two Union Territories banned the e-cigarettes, vapes and e-hookah due to their harmful effects on health. “Telangana is yet to implement these orders and I am sure it will be done shortly,” Bhavna said.
Indian Dental Association’s Deccan branch secretary Dr. A Srikanth said companies involved in the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes claim that these were not harmful, thereby misguiding people. “There were instances where e-cigarettes burst in the face of the smokers,” he said, adding that one nicotine cartridge used in an e-cigarette can deliver 200 to 300 puffs.
VHAI State project manager Venkat Rao said the State government was printing pictures and warnings on the adverse effects of cigarette and tobacco usage on the outpatient sheets in ENT hospitals as part of a pilot project under Arogya Telangana programme. This apart, orders were issued to display signage at all government institutions under the Medical and Health Department in the State, he said.