At the present moment, India tobacco makers are at war with the authorities. The reason that caused the dispute is the size of the warnings on the cigarette packs. The authorities want the warning labels to occupy 85 percent of the cover of the cigarette pack, but the tobacco companies consider that that would be a significant change that would cost them a lot of money.
Almost all countries obligate local tobacco companies to feature a warning label on their cigarette packs. But the size of the labels differs from country to country. Also, some companies prefer to write things like “smoking kills” rather than inserting a picture with a man suffering from throat cancer, or the label attached to the feet of a dead body.
The way in which the warning is presented is not that important. What the Indian authorities want is more space. They want the label to be clear and smokers to be aware of the health choices that they are consciously making.
Currently, the warning labels and pictorial images that accompany cigarette packs in India occupy 40 percent of the package. The government wants them to be augmented at 85 percent, but the tobacco companies disagree.
Because of this dispute, India tobacco makers are at war with the authorities, and they have ceased production. Changing the size of the pictorial images and warning levels will cost the companies a couple of millions of dollars.
Furthermore, they are currently losing around three and a half millions of dollars each day due to the current cessation of all activities.
The tobacco companies from India are trying to convince the government to scale down the new size of the warning labels that they are trying to impose from 85 percent to 50 percent.
But even this 10 percent increase will cost the producers millions of dollars in equipment and other such materials.
On the other hand, the authorities are convinced that the warning labels and pictographic images are efficient and that a percentage of smokers will kick the habit once the size of the labels is increased.
The Health Organization of the World, or WHO, conducted a study in 2009 when the pictograms were first introduced on Indian cigarette packs. It seems that over a third of the total number of smokers were flirting with the idea of quitting after seeing the warnings.
For the moment India tobacco makers are at war with the authorities and the dispute will be over when the two sides reach an agreement.
Image source: Wikimedia
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