Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products in India
- Saudi Arabia and Thailand will join the marathon of introducing plain packaging (warning instructions on packages) of tobacco products this year.
- World Health Organization (WHO) devised the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and Australia hold the honor to be the first country to introduce the plain packaging of tobacco products following the WHO’s framework guidelines.
- Currently, it is implemented in European Union (Ireland, France, UK, Norway, Hungary, Uruguay (2019) and Slovenia (2020)) and New Zealand.
- This framework guideline is will be implemented in as many as 14 other countries.
What is Plain packaging? Why it is important?
It standardized the product appearance of tobacco products. Use of logos, color, branding pictures, images, or marketing information is strictly prohibited except for brand and product names.
The idea/aim/objective is to reduce the attractiveness and appealing sense of tobacco products, with no scope for using packaging to advertise and promote consumption.
Is it against WTO (World Trade Organization) Rules?
WTO favored the plain packaging initiative of Australia, in Jun 2018.
WTO panel rejected the conception that Australia unforgivable contravene tobacco trademarks and infringed intellectual property rights, and mentioned plain packaging for the “betterment of public health by minimizing the use of and openness to tobacco products”.
Tobacco menace in India
- Tobacco is a very pampered baby of Indian people and is deeply rooted in everyday society. India witnesses approximately one million deaths annually due to tobacco consumption.
- In April 2016, India decided and implement, increased size of graphic pictorial warnings, by 85%, on the packaging of tobacco products.
- The graphic pictorial warning had a considerable impact on the category of Indian consuming tobacco, the impact was as such. The percentage of tobacco users to think of quitting because of the pictorial warning increased to 62% (cigarette), 54%(bidi-indigenous cigarettes made from tobacco leaves), 46% (chewable tobacco) - Data derived from the comparison of Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-2017 and 2009-2010).
- Tobacco use among teenagers and young generations (15-24 years of age) showed a substantial reduction of 6% (18.4%-2009-10 to 12.4%-2016-17).
- India is 4th country in Asia to and ranks 3rd Globally to display “Plain Packaging of tobacco products” as mentioned by “Canadian Cancer Society’s ‘Cigarette Package Health Warning International Status Report”