FMCG firm ITC said on Wednesday it has adequate cigarette stocks available in the market despite shutting all its manufacturing in the wake of the government rule that requires larger pictorial warnings on packets. Adequate stocks are available in the market, an ITC spokesperson said in an e-mailed response.
The company had on April 2 said that it was not ready to print larger pictorial warnings on its cigarette packs and its factories would remain shut till clarity emerged on the matter. As per the notification of the Health Ministry, tobacco products are required to have pictorial warning on 85 per cent of the packaging space.
ITC argued the required rule is more than the average global warning size of 31 per cent.
The warning size in India is much larger than the average of 20 per cent among the top five tobacco producing countries-China, Brazil, USA, Malawi and Zimbabwe, comprising around 90 per cent of global tobacco production and the global average warning size of 31 per cent, the company spokesperson said.
On April 1, the Tobacco Institute of India (TII) had stated that its members, which include ITC, Godfrey Phillips and VST Industries, have decided to shut all their factories and stop manufacturing in wake of the larger pictorial warning rule.
The companies, which account for more than 98 per cent of the country's domestic sales of duty-paid cigarettes, put the estimated production revenue loss at over Rs 350 crore per day for tobacco product manufacturers.
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