Examine tobacco effects on Indians, says House panel
The committee on subordinate legislation has recommended in its report to the Union Health Ministry that a medical board should first examine the health effects of tobacco on an Indian population before going ahead with the decision of mandating pictorial warnings covering 85 per cent of the packages of tobacco products. The ministry had in an October 2014 notification said the warnings of health effects should cover 85 per cent of the packaging of tobacco products.
The October notification is supposed to come into effect from April 1. Speaking to The Indian Express from Indore, BJP MP from Ahmadnagar Dilip Gandhi, who is the chairman of the committee, said: “There are no studies in our own country that have examined the health effects of tobacco. Whether at all it actually causes cancer or other diseases is subject to a study in the country. That has never happened and the basis of our stance towards tobacco products are basically studies that have happened in a foreign setting. We have recommended that a medical board or at least an expert committee comprising doctors, scientists et al should first do a study in India before we go ahead with such decisions.” The report, he added, was sent to the health ministry two days ago.
The recommendation is a throwback to the initial days of the health versus tobacco debate in the US when the tobacco lobby maintained that there is no proof of tobacco actually having harmful effects on health. It finally took a pathbreaking report in 1964 of the then US surgeon general Luther Terry to establish once and for all a link between tobacco and lung cancer. Since then many other harmful effects of nicotine on the human body have been documented in medical journals.
Source:: Indian Express