Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

FDA seizes Rs 124-crore worth cigarette packs for flouting pictorial warning norms

Manufacturers to be issued warnings to cover 85% of packet surface with visuals on adverse health effects.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, cigarette packets and other tobacco products, which should display pictorial warnings on 85 per cent of the packet surface about the adverse health effects as per the new law, are clearly flouting the rules in Pune district.

The FDA team conducted a massive operation beginning April this year and seized cigarette packets worth a whopping Rs 124.53 crore from 14 places across Pune district.

Joint Commissioner (FDA) Shashikant Kekare told The Indian Express that they have seized the packets worth Rs 124.53 crore from April till date. “We have decided to re-send the packets to the manufacturing companies, mainly ITC and Godfrey Phillips, and issue a warning to them to cover 85 per cent of the packet surface with large visual warnings within two months,” said Assistant Commissioner FDA Dilip Sangat.

In Pune district in the last four years, the FDA has also collected fines amounting to Rs 50,000 from 350 people, who were found smoking at public places and Rs 11,400 from 77 people who were found selling tobacco and related products within 100 metre distance of schools. The gutkha collected, however, has been phenomenal and packets worth Rs 8.68 crore have been seized from 638 places in the district.

As per the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014, the size of the pictorial warning was increased and were to come into effect from 2015 onwards. However, the Centre had on April 1, 2016 brought in the 85% pictorial warning rule. The Supreme Court too directed the tobacco manufacturing companies to comply with the rules to display the pictorial warnings across 85% of the surface of packets of cigarettes.

This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stressed upon plain packaging of cigarettes and tobacco products on No Tobacco Day (May 31).

PACE team to reach out to more students, train medical interns

About one million people die each year from tobacco-related diseases. By 2020, that number is expected to touch 1.5 million, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). May 31 is observed as No Tobacco Day to spread awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco consumption. The Association of Hospital (AOH) urges people to control and gradually reduce tobacco usage.

In Pune, the team of doctors at the Prevention of Addiction through Children’s Education (PACE) has actively reached out to more than one lakh students in the city and Mumbai. Dr Vandana Joshi, ENT surgeon, who heads PACE and is supported by a team of activists including Dr Neeta Ghate, Anuya Chabukswar and others, have now decided to focus on private schools this year. “We also want to train students of medical and dental courses so that they can take up the campaign to prevent gutka and smoking,” Joshi said.

Pictorial warnings welcome, but poor implementation: Docs

Cancer surgeons have welcomed the move to display pictorial warnings on cigarette packs but say it is poorly implemented. Dr Kamalesh Bokil, who is flooded with oral cancer patients at Ruby Hall Clinic, said the visual warnings really work.

“We need to sustain this movement. No firm can sell tobacco without displaying 85 per cent warning visuals on packs,” said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck cancer surgeon from Tata Memorial Hospital.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>