NEW DELHI: The Union Health Ministry on Monday decided to increase the size of pictorial health warnings on packages of tobacco products to 85 per cent from the present 40 per cent, beginning April 1 next year.
A notification to this effect was issued by the Health Ministry. The move comes a day before a hearing on the matter is scheduled to take place in the Rajasthan High Court. The court had on September 9 ordered the Centre to ensure that larger pictorial warnings are carried on all tobacco products by September 29. The Ministry is set to seek six months’ time as makers of these commodities need to make adjustments to their products. The increase in the size of the pictorial warnings was to come into effect from April 1 this year, but the deadline was extended since a committee was looking into the issue.
In March, the government had delayed the implementation of bigger pictorial warnings, pending the decision of a Parliamentary Ccommittee. The committee is looking into amending the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008, to increase the size of pictorial warnings as recommended earlier.