Pictorial warning against tobacco to cover foreign brands: Nadda

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021


Health Minister J P Nadda on Friday contradicted recent statements made by two BJP members of the Parliamentary Committee of Subordinate Legislation that there is no direct link between tobacco use and cancer.

“Tobacco smoking and chewing is directly related to cancer,’ the Minister said in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, adding that the government would go ahead with its decision to increase the size of pictorial warnings on the package of tobacco products, including on foreign cigarette packs’.

He, however, did not specify the size of the warning.

He was replying to various questions, including by NCP leader Supriya Sule, who wanted to know when the 85 per cent pictorial warning will be implemented, or at least 65 per cent, as stated by the Prime Minister.

“We will go ahead once the panel submits its report,” Nadda said, adding that the government was crystal clear “that consumption of tobacco has to be reduced.”

The government has put off its decision to ask tobacco firms to introduce pictorial warnings covering 85 per cent of packaging for tobacco products from April 1, after the panel urged it to wait till it submits its final report.

A few days ago, the parliamentary panel head and BJP member Dilip Gandhi and another MP Shyam Charan Gupta, who is a beedi baron, had triggered a row by saying that there was no Indian study to link the use of tobacco with cancer.

Congress leader PC Venugopal said they were ‘ashamed’ by such statements by MPs.

Replying to another supplementary by Prahlad Patel of BJP that while tobacco use was bad, the government should take care of the livelihood of thousands of beedi workers in the Bundelkhand region, Nadda said beedi smoking was equally harmful.

“Most clinical and epidemiological studies from India demonstrate that beedi smoking is at least as hazardous as cigarette smoking in causing different lung diseases” , he added.

The Standing Committee on Labour, while taking note of the global crusade against tobacco use, has also urged the Ministry to explore avenues and possibilities for beedi workers.

The committee said affected workers should be financially or technically assisted to find alternative employment. According to an estimate, there are 4.5 million beedi workers in India, of which 90 per cent are women.

Published on April 24, 2015
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