NEW DELHI: The Government of India (GoI) is working on issuing a new set of enhanced pictorial and text warnings and planning to print the national toll-free anti-smoking helpline number on the packets of all tobacco products to amplify the message.
The National Tobacco Cessation QuitLine-1800 227787 is a dedicated toll-free number that helps tobacco users to receive free support and guidance to subdue their addiction.
In September 2015, the Health Ministry had made it mandatory for manufacturers to display health warnings on 85 percent of the main display area on the packets of all tobacco products from April 1, 2016.
The ministry is now conducting an exercise as part of which they show a new set of pictures and text warnings to people to understand the effectiveness of the warnings and know the reaction of the consumers.
“The aim of the exercise is to find out if the new set of pictures and text warnings are impactful or not. Our teams are going to people and taking their suggestions,” said a senior official of the Health Ministry.
“We are also planning to print the National Tobacco Cessation QuitLine number (1800-22-77-87) on packets. Also, the text warnings will mention the diseases caused due to consumption of tobacco,” he said.
According to the second Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2) published in June, tobacco use has gone down by six percentage points from 34.6 percent of the country’s adult population in 2009-10 to 28.6 percent in 2016-17. The GATS-2 report said the number of tobacco users in India has gone down by 81 lakh.
Tobacco use among young people (aged between 15 and 24) reduced from 18.4 percent in GATS-1 to 12.4 percent in GATS-2.
Also, there was an increase of one year in the mean age at initiation of tobacco use from 17.9 years in 2009-10 to 18.9 years in 2016-17, the report said.
The survey revealed that 19 percent of men, 2 percent of women, and 10.7 percent of all adults smoke tobacco, while 29.6 percent of men, 12.8 percent of women and 21.4 percent of all adults use smokeless tobacco.
It also mentioned that 28.6 per cent of all adults (26.7 crore) use tobacco in some form or other.