Seventy percent of cigarette products in Karnataka comply with the new pictorial norms on displaying health warning on 85% of the packaging, a study found.
Conducted by the Institute of Public Health, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) and several voluntary organisations, the study assessed cigarettes, beedi and smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco) in Karnataka, among other states, for compliance with the rule introduced by the Union government in April.
It was found that 55% of smokeless tobacco products comply with the rule, while the number is only 12% for beedi products.
Releasing the findings of the study at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on Saturday, veteran freedom fighter H S Doreswamy said: “It is sad to note that every third Indian adult uses some form of tobacco and about 10 lakh Indians die from tobacco-related diseases each year in India.”
He added that the new rule would force tobacco users to think twice before using harmful products. Food and Civil Supplies Minister U T Khader and former law minister Suresh Kumar appreciated the rule, saying it as a good measure to help consumers make informed decisions.
The new rule says that the health warning should be issued as a picture covering 60% of the principal display area and 25% as textual warning in English, Hindi or the local language.
The study shows that the claim made by tobacco companies that it was not feasible to print the warning on 85% of the package does not hold water, said Dr Pragati Hebbar from the Institute of Public Health. At the national-level, 68% of cigarette packs, 48% of smokeless tobacco and 16% of beedi products comply with the rule. DH News Service