The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released new images, to be used by manufacturers as pictorial health warnings on packs of all tobacco products, including cigarettes.

As per the notification issued by the ministry, the new images will be published on all tobacco packs starting 01 September this year.

The first set of images will be used for a period of 12 months from the date of commencement, while the second set of images will be rolled out once this period ends.

The new picture warnings on tobacco packs also feature a ‘Quit Today’ toll-free number to encourage smokers to give up the habit.

“the first set of images will carry the message ‘Tobacco Causes Cancer’ and the second set will feature ‘Tobacco Causes Painful Death’.”

In a statement, the Ministry said: “Any person engaged directly or indirectly in the production, supply, import or distribution of cigarettes or any tobacco products shall ensure that all tobacco product packages shall have the specified health warnings exactly as prescribed.”

According to the amended rules, the first set of images will carry the message ‘Tobacco Causes Cancer’ and the second set will feature ‘Tobacco Causes Painful Death’.

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The new rules have been notified after the Ministry made an amendment in the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labeling) Rules, 2008vide GSR 331(E).

The health warnings notification comes after the Supreme Court last week ruled that tobacco manufacturers need to continue to publish picture warning on the packs covering 85% of the packaging space.

Last month, the apex court declined to stay the Health Ministry notification that aims to enforce the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Second Amendment Rules, 2018.