Replacing the existing images, the Health Ministry has released a new set of pictorial warnings for mandatory display on packets of cigarettes, bidis, and chewing tobacco with effect from April 1 this year.
Under the new rules, manufacturers will now need to display graphic pictures of throat cancer on cigarette and bidi packets and pictures of mouth cancer on chewing tobacco packets. According to the public notice on the Health Ministry's website, the government notified the new health warnings on October 15, 2014 and issued a notification dated September 24, 2015 for mandatory display of new health warnings covering 85 per cent of the principal display area on all tobacco products from April 1, 2016.
"As per Rules, 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.
"Further as per notification dated March 24, 2017, all tobacco products manufactured on or after April 1, 2017 shall display the second image of specified health warning," the notice said.
It further said any person engaged directly or indirectly in production, supply, import or distribution of cigarettes or any other tobacco products shall ensure that all tobacco product packages have these specified health warnings.
"Violation of the provisions is a punishable offence with imprisonment or fine as prescribed under section 20 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 2003," it said.
India is third among countries with the largest pictorial warnings on tobacco products, according to a recent report.
The Health Ministry has implemented, from April 2016, large pictorial health warnings occupying 85 per cent of the principal display area of tobacco packs and on all forms of tobacco.
( With PTI Inputs)