• May 26, 2024

Less than graphic warnings

bangladesh photo
Photo by BatulTheGreat

One year after rules on the printing of graphic health warnings on tobacco packs became mandatory, a study in Bangladesh has found that most tobacco companies are still flouting the law, according to a bdnews24.com story.

The tobacco industry had rather resorted to fresh tactics to undermine the implementation of the law, said anti-tobacco group Progga, which was involved in the study.

“The government needs to strengthen the National Tobacco Control Cell so that they can monitor the market effectively,” Progga executive director ABM Zubair told bdnews24.com.

The law on graphic health warnings was passed in parliament in April 2013, but it took 22 months to adopt the implementation rules mostly due to industry pressure. Then again, it took a year to implement the graphic health warnings.

The law came into force on March 19 last year.

The study found that 51 percent of tobacco products did not obey the law, and that the overwhelming number of tobacco producers were selling products that didn’t fully comply with the graphic health warning guidelines.

Zubair said the health ministry had provided seven rules on the printing of the warnings and not obeying any one of them could lessen the impact.

For example, he said, the picture had to be clear so that the devastating images of injuries could draw attention to all, even those who could not read. “But if you print a grainy photo, then they will not understand it,” he said. “It will reduce the impact”.

Zubair said the manufacturers of local hand-rolled cigarettes such as bidis and smokeless tobacco such as ‘jorda’, which were packed in round or cylindrical packs, were taking advantage of the fact that pictures could not be displayed properly on such packs.