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Pictorial Health Warnings on tobacco packs motivate people of quit: Punjab Govt.

March 22, 2016 | By

Chandigarh: As per a press release by Department of Information and Public Relations (Punjab) [r]ecent studies conducted between December 2015 to March 2016 by teams lead by Dr Sonu Goel, School of Public Health, PGIMER Chandigarh & Dr Rakesh Gupta, State Programme Officer, State Tobacco Control Cell in Punjab using GATS protocol to assess prevalence of tobacco use & other parameters before the actual conduct of GATS survey in the coming year.

Vini Mahajan, Principal Secretary, Health disclosed that the study has thrown up many interesting data including the data regarding impact of pictorial health warnings on behavioural change in current tobacco users.

It says that 97.4% of the current tobacco users noticed pictorial health warnings on packs. Out of these 61.5% thought of quitting smoking after seeing the health warning. The health warnings were noticed maximum in the age group of 25-44 years. This is quite significant since there were no recent study available anywhere in India showing decisively that pictorial health warning do help in behavioural change in current tobacco users to quit.

Dr. Sonu Goel said that Article 11 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) requires Parties to the Convention to implement large, rotating health warnings on all tobacco products packaging and labelling. Pictorial health warnings on tobacco packages are a cost-effective means to increase public awareness about the dangers of tobacco use. Guidelines for Article 11 of the WHO FCTC recommend that Parties should mandate full colour pictures or pictograms, in their packaging and labelling requirements. He added that The Rajasthan High Court had on 9 September ordered the Centre to ensure that larger pictorial warnings are carried on all tobacco products.

Dr Rakesh Gupta said that “The Health Ministry has issued the notification regarding increase in the size of pictorial health warnings. As per the notification, 85 per cent pictorial warning has to be there and it will come into effect from 1 April, 2016. A public notice regarding this has already been published in leading newspapers. If implemented this will go a long way in deterring young children & youth from initiation & also motivate current users to quit.

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