Did India Bow to Tobacco Companies?

Posted by Ann Marie Gardner

A smoker in India
 

Cigarette manufacturers in India somehow managed to convince the Indian government to delay using the new health warning labels on cigarette packages. The new warnings were set to launch on December 1 but will be postponed for a year claims the Los Angeles Times. This delay is despite or possibly because of the effectiveness the warnings have on smokers quitting. 

The recently released Global Adult Tobacco Survey of India 2010 showed that pictorial warnings have a positive effect on reducing consumption. The survey found that nearly a third of tobacco users considered quitting because of the warnings, which feature a lung and a scorpion symbol with a health message. Some "5,500 young people are initiated into cigarette smoking every day," Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, executive director of the Voluntary Health Assn. of India said. "Most of our population is illiterate and can't read warnings. Pictorial warnings are the most cost-effective and impactful way of warning these people."

This comes one month after Ottawa Canada's federal government aborted their $3.6 million plan for new warning labels according to the The Globe and Mail. A further investigation by The Globe and Mail found a federal government log proving that Ottawa government met with cigarette makers months before to discuss "suspended regulatory projects"

Tobacco Use Can Make You Impotent
 (Image: Creative Commons)

At least this still constitutes a scandal in Canada. In India, even with a more lax approach to laws and regulations, it still seems short-sighted considering 1 million deaths in India are related to tobacco.