Starting from today, all tobacco products such as packs of cigarettes, bidis will now have larger pictorial warnings covering 85 percent of the packaging space as per central notification.
Earlier, the parliamentary panel had recommended a smaller visual message on the tobacco products.
The Health Ministry’s notification of September 24, 2015, for implementation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014, comes into force on April 1. The rules prescribe larger pictorial warnings on all tobacco products.
The ministry had made a commitment to Rajasthan High Court on March 28 that the amended rules will implement from April 1, 2016.
The government’s proposal to have larger pictorial warnings covering 85 per cent of the packaging surface was described ''too harsh'' by the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation. The panel had recommended that it should be reduced to 50 per cent of the space.
“The committee is of the view that in order to have a balanced approach, the warning on cigarette packets should be 50 per cent on both sides of the principal display area instead of 85 per cent as it will be too harsh and result in the flooding of illicit cigarettes in the country,” the committee said in the report.
The Health Ministry has also informed Rajasthan High Court that its legislative authority is examining the observations/ recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation.
A senior official confirmed that all tobacco products manufactured from April 1 onwards will carry larger pictorial health warnings as the rules framed by the ministry have come into effect.