Health experts bat for plain packaging on tobacco products to save more lives

Health experts bat for plain packaging on tobacco products to save more lives

Submitted by alvin on Sat, 2016-05-28 13:23 Bengaluru: Ahead of World No Tobacco Day – on May 31 – health experts have urged the government to go ahead with the plain packaging on tobacco products to save young lives.Addressing mediapersons here, various individuals and organisations concerned with public health stressed on the fact that youngsters, especially, illiterates are getting addicted to tobacco. To prevent it, they urged the government to implement this year’s WNTD i.e. ‘get ready for plain package’. Plain packaging refers to ‘measures to restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style (plain packaging).’Dr US Vishal Rao, noted oncologist and member of High power committee on tobacco control, Government of Karnataka, said advertisement plays an important role in promotion of tobacco products by the tobacco companies. “Since all direct and indirect advertisement is banned, tobacco industries are making most of the tobacco product packets for advertising,” he added.Chander of Society for Community Health Awareness Research and Action (SOCHARA) said the government must implement 85 per cent pictorial warning and restrict brand promotion through plain packaging. “This will prevent the vulnerable population from falling prey to the tobacco industry,” he added.Following Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) initiative, World Health Organisation recommended ban of all advertisement in ever forms. FCTC is the first ever public health treaty on any public health issues. So far 180 countries have ratified the FCTC and India was the 7th country that ratified the FCTC on 5th February 2004, said Dr Riyaz Basha S, Deputy Registrar, RGUHS, Bengaluru. “Article 13 of the FCTC requires parties to implement measures that allow for a comprehensive ban on direct and indirect tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship,” he pointed out.Many tobacco industries are opposed to bigger pictorial warning, said Dr Upendra Bhojani of Institute of Public Health and added that health ministry in the country has been very active in advocating for increased size of pictorial warning.