Subhash Chandra Agrawal
(Delhi based RTI activist)
It refers to a Full Bench of Supreme Court asking Union government to file affidavit for postponing printing of more stringent pictorial warnings on tobacco-products from 01.06.2010 to now for 01.12.2010. It is indeed a matter of regret that in India, even life of citizens is on sale when powerful tobacco-lobby was again successful in getting postponed Evidently role of money in getting the poisonous postponement can and should not be ruled out. In all likelihood, postponed deadline will continue to be further postponed after receipt of required ‘convenience fees’ is paid to concerned ones by super-rich tobacco lobby!
Indian government solemnly celebrates ‘No-Tobacco-Day’ on 31st May as a ritual ignoring even the bitter fact that tobacco-companies are now targeting women to develop smoking-habits amongst them. Earlier also tobacco-lobby was successful to dilute area and design of pictorial-warnings on cigarette-packs against wishes of the then Union health Minister Dr A Ramadoss and other senior officials of his ministry. Proportion of pictorial-warning area on cigarette packs in India is lowest in the world with Brazil even having 100-percent area on both front and pack panels of cigarette-packs.
However only remedy for effectively curbing smoking is to follow sensible countries like Bhutan and Ireland by imposing a complete ban on manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the country. Even family-members of smokers will support such a bold step, because it is the family which suffers from death of persons caused by smoking.