New Delhi: Nearly 653 doctors and office bearers of medical societies across the country have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement the new set of pictorial warning on tobacco product packages from April 1, to save millions of lives.
Doctors, cutting across specialties, in a letter, requested the Prime Minister to step in to prevent “powerful tobacco lobby” from subverting the anti-tobacco measures of the government.
“The country is 136th in the qualitative ranking of the pictorial warning on tobacco products. Large pictorial warning on tobacco packets is the most cost effective strategy to prevent youngsters from initiating use and provokes current users to quit the habit,” the doctors said.
“We the doctors of India urge you to reject the recommendations of Committee on Subordinate Legislation (CoSL) that aims to promote tobacco industry rather than save innocent Indians from falling prey to this fatal addiction. Effective pictorial warnings is all about awareness and it is being wrongfully equated with ban on tobacco,” the letter said.
They quoted the Prime Minister’s Facebook post on May 31, 2014, “Let’s pledge to spread awareness on the risks of tobacco consumption & work to reduce tobacco consumption in India. Tobacco not only affects those consuming it but also people around. By saying no to tobacco, let us lay the foundation of a healthier India.”
Tobacco companies in India are targeting schoolchildren as young as eight years for sale of their products and placing advertisements, finds a new study.
Conducted by Consumer Voice and Voluntary Health Association (VHA) of India the study titled ‘India Tiny Targets Report’ which was released here on Wednesday, found that nearly half of the vendors around schools sell tobacco products.
It covered schools in 20 cities across six states — Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
For the study, survey was carried out in 243 schools at 487 point of sales (PoSs) across India has found that about half of them (225) sell tobacco products to minors.
“Street vendors were the most common form of vendors of the 225 tobacco points of sale. Vendors advertise tobacco products around schools and sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth,” the study found.
It also stated that vendors display tobacco products in ways that are appealing to children and youth and utilize sales techniques such as discounting products and distributing free samples.
“The tobacco industry must be held accountable for their aggressive advertising efforts around our children’s schools. Our schools are not safe so long as the tobacco industry continues to try and lure our children into buying their deadly products,” Bhavna B Mukhopadhyay, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Association of India said. (IANS)