Government Notifies Enhanced Warnings, ‘Quitline’ Number On Tobacco Packs
A cigarette vendor sets up his shop in a market in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg News)

Government Notifies Enhanced Warnings, ‘Quitline’ Number On Tobacco Packs

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The Union Health Ministry has notified a new sets of health warnings -- including enlarged pictorial images and text messages covering 85 percent of the packet area, and a national toll-free number -- printed on tobacco packs to assist users to quit.

The new warnings will come into effect on Sept. 1, a statement by the ministry said on Wednesday.

The Health Ministry has notified the new warnings by making an amendment in the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Rules, 2008.

The text messages that will be printed on the packs are "tobacco causes painful death".

The quitline number - 1800-11-2356 - will also be printed on the packs.

Also read: Government Mulling Options To Enforce Ban On E-Cigarettes, Nicotine Flavoured Hookahs

This helps in creating awareness among tobacco users, and gives them access to counselling services to effect behaviour change. There shall be one common specified health warning for both smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco products, the statement stated.

As per the rules laid down under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, during the rotation period of 24 months, two images of specified health warnings as notified in the Schedule shall be displayed on all tobacco product packages and each of the images shall appear consecutively on the package with an interregnum period of 12 months, a notification issued earlier read.

The government had introduced a "quitline number" looking at the results of Global Adult Tobacco Survey report of 2017, which indicated that 62 percent of cigarette smokers, 54 percent of bidi smokers and 46 percent of smokeless tobacco users thought of quitting because of pictorial warning labels on tobacco products.

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