Court orders tobacco industry to adopt stern warnings

Court orders tobacco industry to adopt stern warnings

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Cigarette manufacturers have been ordered by the Indian court to adhere to the new rules, which require them to put strict and large health warnings on the packets. The decision was met with factory shutdowns on the part of the manufacturers.

The tobacco industry has retaliated by arguing that the explicit and harsh images of diseases like mouth and lung tumors caused by smoking are too graphic and severe.

The court’s decision enforced since 1st of April ordered the manufacturers to increase the size of the warnings from the current 20 percent to 85 percent.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court transferred the petitions of the manufacturers to a court of south Karnataka, but in the meantime, the tobacco industry is to comply with the present decision.

Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose says that all manufacturers are expected to adhere to the 2014 amendment rule. The petitioners replied that such an action will lead to illegal smuggling of cigarettes at the expense of local jobs.

On the 1st of April, the Tobacco Institute of India decided to shut down its factories due to the ‘ambiguity’ of the court decision. This has led to an estimated loss of 3.5billion rupees per day. The industry body has stated that such a drastic action has been taken due to the unclear nature of the government’s order  when earlier this year a parliament panel ordered only 50% increase in the warning size.

Dilip Gandhi, chairman of the parliamentary panel, recently said to AFP that it is known to everyone that tobacco causes a number of adverse diseases but they also need to protect the interests of 50 million poor people related to the tobacco trade.

A harrowing figure of up to 900,000 people dying due to tobacco use each year has been estimated. The number can rise up to 1.5 million by the end of this decade fears researchers.