HC order on pictorial warning will affect public health: Experts

HC order on pictorial warning will affect public health: Experts

Doctors have opined that the High Court of Karnataka's latest order to quash the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2014 making it must to have 85% picitorial warning will adversely affect public health.

Dr Vishal Rao, head and neck surgeon, HCG Hospital and a member of high-power committee on tobacco control, government of Karnataka said that, if the court has struck down the Bill and asked for removal of 85% pictorial wranings on the packs, then it is a major blow and a set back for public health movement globally.

"This was a measure taken to reduce the consumption keeping in sync with global health policy that stronger pack warning helps reduce youth falling into the trap of attractive advertisements. Less space for warning means more space for marketing tobacco products," he added.

May be it's time to shift focus on disease care and not health by building more hospitals and increasing spending on healthcare  for treatment of cancer and heart patients, he said.

Dr Bharath Holla, psychiatrist from NIMHANS said that there is no use in having a picture with a mouth ulcer as people do not relate to it. They think they will never be affected by it. There should be more like the repercussions and an indicator that it can be treated.

"I do not understand the order. It is crucial to have more representation on cigarette packs. Some of these habits are hard to give up. Pictorial representations give some amount of discomfort which may make them rethink," said Akhila Vasan, health activist.

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