The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a Madras High Court order, which quashed a May 2018 notification prohibiting sale, manufacture, and transport of gutkha, and other tobacco-based products in Tamil Nadu.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has notified new sets of health warnings for all tobacco product packs by making an amendment to the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Rules, 2008 vide GSR 331(E) dated 3 April 2018 — Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Second Amendment Rules, 2018. The amended rules will come into force from 1 September 2018.
One of the most important key features of the new set of specified health warnings will include telephone Quit-line number “QUIT TODAY CALL 1800-11-2356”. This will help in creating awareness among tobacco users and give them access to counselling services to effect behavior change. The pictorial warning on the packs will be gorier than before to scare the tobacco users about the possible repercussions.
It is also likely to lead to an increase in demand for tobacco cessation. Further, now the same set of warning images shall be on both smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco products.
The toll-free Tobacco Quit-line Services provides counseling and strategies for quitting tobacco use. As per the recent second round of Global Adult Tobacco Survey conducted in the age group 15 years and above, 61.9% of current cigarette smokers, 53.8% of current bidi smokers and 46.2% of current smokeless tobacco users thought about quitting because of warning label on packets of cigarette, bidi and smokeless tobacco.
The said notification, along with a printable version of warnings, is available on the Ministry’s website i.e. www.mohfw.gov.in. Printable versions of the new warnings in all regional languages shall also soon be made available on Ministry’s website.
In view of the above, it is informed that before the new set of specified health warning come into force from 1 September 2018, the existing specified health warnings on tobacco product packs shall be continued till 31 August 2018, as per amendment made in the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008 vide GSR 283 (E) dated 26 March 2018.