The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay a central government notification regarding the pictorial warnings on tobacco-related packs. The court also declined to put on hold the government’s decision to set up a helpline for those seeking assistance to quit tobacco use.
The Centre had amended the Cigarettes and Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008, in April. From September, all cigarette packs and tobacco products sold in India will carry a toll-free helpline number along with a new set of pictorial and text warnings that will cover 85% of the packs of such products. Pictures of people suffering from cancer will be displayed.
The text warnings that will be printed on the packs are: “Tobacco causes painful death” and “Tobacco causes cancer”, in large capital letters in white against a red background. The helpline number – 1800112356 – should be printed in white letters on a black background, the notification said.
The helpline number, which the government launched on May 31, 2016, and calls a “quit-line” number, is intended to help users give up the tobacco habit.