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Government to Set Up Labs to Test Tobacco Contents, Emissions

NEW DELHI: Government will set up an apex tobacco research lab and four other regional labs to test the the contents and emissions of various tobacco products like cigarettes and bidis and set a limit to the toxic chemicals in them.

“The aim is to evaluate both smoking and smokeless tobacco products. These labs would be testing the identified chemicals of priority like nicotine, ammonia and carbon monoxide for which the WHO’s TobLabNet has already established Standard Operating Precedures (SOPs)

“These labs will be the first of its kind in South Asia and initially may be regulatory laboratories to verify the declarations of the tobacco industry about the contents and emissions of their products,” said a senior Union Health Ministry official.

The work will be carried out in two phases. In phase-I, an apex research lab will be set up in Food Research & Standardisation Laboratory (FRSL), Ghaziabad and two regional labs in Regional Drugs Testing Laboratory in Guwahati and Central Drugs Testing Laboratory in Mumbai.

In phase-II, two more regional labs will come up in Central Drug Testing Laboratory, Hyderabad and Regional Drug Testing Laboratory in Chandigarh.

The Ministry is in the process of procuring the equipment like environmental chamber, weight, circumference, pressure drop and ventillation measurement apparatus, fully automatic smoking machine with stand alone carbon monoxide (CO)analyser etc centrally.

Team from The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) along with the Central Design Bureau (CDB) architect had visited the identified labs and suggestive lay outs have been prepared.

The tobacco testing laboratories will not be built de-novo but they will be housed in the existing Food and Drug testing laboratories.

At present there is Central Tobacco Research Institute in Andhra Pradesh (under the agriculture ministry), which tests tobacco content for the industry.

The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Act makes it mandatory for all tobacco manufacturers to mention the amount of nicotine and other chemicals in their products.

Once the testing labs will be step up, we will ask the industry to follow the norm.

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