Cigarette brands implement 85% pictorial warnings

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Cigarette companies, including ITC and Godfrey Phillips, have implemented the rule requiring 85 per cent pictorial warning, months after halting production in protest over the new government regulation.

According to the companies, the decision was taken following the Supreme Court ruling making the new rule mandatory.

“We have implemented the 85 percent pictorial warnings and now they can be seen on the new packets in the market,” a company spokesman told IANS.

The implementation comes after the Health Ministry under Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, increased the size of graphic health warnings on tobacco products’ packages from 20 percent to 85 per cent, from April 1, 2016.

The order came despite a parliamentary committee recommendation that the warnings be brought down to 50 percent of the package surface area, as it said 85 percent was too harsh on the tobacco industry.

Following the order, companies such as ITC — India’s largest cigarette making company — Godfrey Phillips India, Marlboro, and Four Square as well as Red and White had stopped production from April 2 and approached the court.

According to Tobacco Institute of India (TII), tobacco is an extremely important commercial crop for India as it contributes more than Rs 30,000 crore in tax revenue annually besides earning about Rs 6,000 crore in foreign exchange.



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