Friday, 29 May 2015

IMA & HCFI for increase in size of pictorial health warnings on tobacco products

IMA & HCFI for increase in size of pictorial health warnings on tobacco products

A survey conducted by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) amongst the youth found that the two most important facts, which youth fear about tobacco usage are: “Tobacco products can lead to erectile dysfunction in men” and “Tobacco consumption  can lead to early aging of skin in women leading to wrinkles.”

Addressing a Press Conference in Delhi, Padma Shri Awardee Dr A Marthanda Pillai, National President IMA and Padma Shri Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, Hony Secretary General, IMA and President HCFI said that IMA is for increasing the size of the pictorial health warnings on tobacco products, covering up to 60 to 80% of the front part of the product. According to the IMA, besides the cancer warnings, the government should also include pictorial warning messages about early aging and erectile dysfunction.

Dr Aggarwal further said that they support increase in taxes on tobacco products and hailed the order of Punjab Government, Haryana Government and Chandigarh Administration that banned complete use of nicotine under the Provisions of Poison Act 1919 and their Sale Rule 2015.  These three States have placed nicotine in the category of poison.  IMA wants this to be implemented in all other States and Union Territories too. IMA has written to the Health Minister demanding this ban at a National level also.

IMA will also be training all General Practitioners in tobacco cessation so that tobacco quit facilities are available to those who want to quit.  IMA has already advised their 2.5 lakh members to ask every patient at every visit whether he or she smokes and if yes, offer help for quitting.

IMA has also sent communication to all its 1700 branches and 2.5 lakh members not to allow smoking in their organizational meetings and their clinics and hospitals should be strictly no smoking zones. No doctor shall smoke in public place and in public view.

Following points, as IMA Stand, were released.

·                Beedi and Hukkah smoking is in fact more dangerous than cigarette smoking.

·                Secondhand smoke is equally dangerous to health as tobacco smoking.

·                Quitting means 3 years of not consuming tobacco

·                Electronic cigarettes are not safe option to quit smoking.

·                Putting nicotine water over herbal products and selling them for a kick, needs to be banned.

·                There should be complete ban of smoking in films. The caption below the scene that smoking is injurious to health does not stop people emulating the smoking character depicted in the film.  There is enough data available to prove the point.

IMA & HCFI support banning oral tobacco products all over the country. Selective ban in few States is encouraging the illicit trade of tobacco products from non ban states to ban states e.g. from UP to Delhi.

The Press Conference was co-addressed by Dr NV Kamat and Dr RP Vashist, Principal Advisors, IMA.

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