Tobacco sellers protest against hiked ‘health warning’ on packs

New Delhi: Scores of tobacco farmers from all over the country assembled in the national capital to protest against the government’s decision to increase the health warning to cover 85 per cent space on tobacco packs.

“We have come here to meet let Rahul Gandhi ji so that we can tell him about out sufferings. The poor runs his family by selling the tobacco and if this kind warning comes on the packets, then we would be jobless” Ramashray Mishra, a protestor told ANI.

“The move of the government to cover the packets by 85 per cent of health warning would reduce the sale of the Indian cigarettes because there is no such warning on the cigarettes which are manufactured from outside. We request the government to reduce this warning on the packets to 50 percent,” another protestor said.

The protesting tobacco sellers were seen holding placards criticising the government’s decision to cover 85 per cent of the cover of cigarettes with statutory health warnings.

“Create health awareness in a way that it doesn’t affect livelihoods. Why should my money go to the smugglers and terrorist? Why promote illicit cigarettes and foreign liquor tobacco?” were few of the slogans.

Union Health Ministry had earlier issued a notification making it mandatory for cigarette companies to devote at least 85 per cent of the surface areas of cigarette packets on both sides to graphically and literally represent the statutory warning.

Currently pictorial warnings cover only 40 per cent of one side of tobacco products such as cigarettes. (ANI)