Health ministry advised to print early death message on products.
New Delhi: The Delhi government has suggested the Union health ministry to add the word ‘early’ to its recently revised text warning; “Tobacco causes painful death”, which, it said, does not clearly explain the fact that the life span of tobacco users get shortened.
The revised text warning along with enhanced pictorial warnings and a national toll-free number to help tobacco users quit addiction will cover 85 per cent of each packet of tobacco products from September 1.
The text warnings that will be printed on the packets are “tobacco causes painful death” and “tobacco causes cancer”. The Delhi government’s health department lauded the revised warnings saying they will have more impact in prevention of tobacco consumption, but claimed the text “tobacco causes painful death” does not clearly explain that the life span of tobacco users also gets shortened.
Additional director (health) Dr S.K. Arora in his letter to the Union health ministry said that death can be natural too, but cigarette smoking causes premature death. Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than of non-smokers, the official said.
“Similarly, the words “tobacco causes painful death’ clearly does not explain the fact that life span of tobacco users gets shortened. Therefore, it is suggested that if we can add the word “early”, so that the revised wordings can be “tobacco causes early painful death”, will affect the mindset of people more and the message will be more clearer,” Dr Arora said, in the letter.
The Union health ministry had on April 3 issued a notification regarding amendments on using the new warnings and including the toll-free helpline number — 1800-11-2356, which has been set up to help tobacco users fight their addiction by providing support and guidance.
Last month, the Central government had extended the duration of existing health warnings on packets of tobacco products till August 31, from its earlier deadline of March 31.
According to Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, a cancer surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, around 12 lakh deaths occur every year in the country due to tobacco usage. Almost 40 per cent of non-communicable diseases, including cancers, cardiovascular diseases and lung disorders, are directly attributable to tobacco use, he said.
Dr Chaturvedi, who is also a member of the committee, which finalised the recent pack warnings, said that use of tobacco is responsible for nearly 50 per cent of all cancer patients and 90 per cent of mouth cancer patients in the country.