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, according to a notification issued on Tuesday by the Health Ministry. The products include cigarette, bidi, and chewing tobacco packs.
The text warnings to 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 – 1800-11-2356 – 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.
The amended guidelines are aimed at amplifying the warnings and highlighting the ill-effects of tobacco consumption, a health ministry official told PTI.
Last week, the Health Ministry had said that the existing pictorial warnings, which cover 85% of the packet area, would continue for five more months, till August 31.