The government on Monday notified new sets of specified health warnings for all tobacco product packs by making an amendment to the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008. The amended rules will come into effect from September 1, 2020, the Union Health Ministry said in a statement on its website. The fresh warnings will be valid for a year from the date of effect.
The first images will be displayed by the tobacco products manufactured or imported or packaged on or after September 1. The second image will be displayed by the product manufactured or imported or packaged after September 1, the statement said.
"Any person engaged directly or indirectly in the manufacture, 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,'' The Union Health Ministry added. Any violation of the rules is a punishable offence with imprisonment or fine as prescribed, it noted.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had said last month that smoking may increase the risk of getting a severe case of coronavirus as it damages the lungs and other body parts. "The act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus from hand to mouth. Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase the risk of serious illness," WHO had said in a Q&A section on smoking and coronavirus on its website.