India Delays New Health Warnings

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    The health ministry of India has deferred implementation of its new pictorial health warnings for tobacco products. The new warnings will be enforced from Dec. 1 instead of Sept. 1.
     
    Public health advocates criticized the postponement.
     
    “By delaying the next round of pictorial warnings on tobacco products, the health ministry is not only contradicting its own advisory to hold back tobacco use during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is adversely impacting the motivation of tobacco users to quit while being in conducive environment socially,” said Rakesh Gupta, a consultant working for Tobacco Cessation.
     
    Some 270 million adults in India consume tobacco, which is blamed for more than 1.3 million premature deaths every year.
     
    The Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016–17 showed that 62 percent of cigarette smokers and 54 percent of bidi smokers said they had thought of quitting because of the mandatory 85 percent pictorial warnings on packs. Forty-six percent of smokeless tobacco users thought of quitting because of warnings on smokeless tobacco products.