Tobacco lobby trying to mislead government: VHAI

New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) Countering the claim of Indian tobacco growers that none of the countries has implemented pictorial warnings on tobacco product packets, health major Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) on Saturday released a list of nations that have implemented major pictorial warnings, similar to India.

“Tobacco growers have misled people and the government by saying that none of the major countries has implemented the high pictorial warnings on the packets of tobacco products. In fact countries like Australia and Canada have over 75 percent pictorial warnings implemented on all tobacco products,” said a statement from the VHAI.

It said even if the same companies have accepted the pictorial warnings world wide, they are refusing to do so in India.

According to the organisation, Australia has implemented 82 percent pictorial warning while Brunei has 75 percent pictorial warning, Canada 75 percent, Sri Lanka has 80 per cent and Thailand has 85 per cent pictorial warnings.

“Even Nepal has implemented 90 percent pictorial warnings and Uruguay has 80 per cent pictorial warnings. Companies like Philip Morris and Godfrey have implemented the same pictorial warnings in other countries while they have not done that in India till now despite having 85 per cent pictorial warning by the Indian Government,” said the statement.

Earlier the Federation of All India Farmers Association and Tobacco Institute of India urged the Government to lower the 85 per cent pictorial warnings, stating that no country has implemented the pictorial warning and has only used textual warnings.

The health ministry implemented the 85 per cent pictorial warning on all tobacco products on April 1, 2015. However, instead of implementing the pictorial warning the tobacco growers and tobacco product companies have been protesting against the government’s decision.



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