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.”
Federal and state health officials are baffled by a mysterious and rare illness that seems to target children, causing paralysis.
As of Tuesday, 62 cases of what doctors are calling acute flaccid myelitis have been confirmed in 22 states. Sixty-five suspected cases are being investigated.
“There is a lot we don’t know about AFM and I am frustrated that despite all of our efforts, we haven’t been able to identify the cause of this mystery illness,” Nancy Messonnier, a top official at the Centers for Disease Control, said Tuesday.
What is known about the illness is that more than 90 percent of the confirmed cases are in children 18 years old or younger. The average age of patients is 4.
Victims generally suffer from muscle weakness and some paralysis of the face, neck, back, arms and legs. The paralysis sets in about a week after the children have come down with fever and respiratory illness.
There is no specific treatment, and most of the victims recover. But the long-term effects are still unknown.
Messonnier called it a “pretty dramatic disease.”
Health experts have ruled out some causes, including poliovirus and West Nile virus.
But what is particularly confounding doctors is that the number of cases spikes only every other year — with larger numbers in 2014, 2016 and this year — and fewer cases in 2015 and 2017.