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PM favours larger pictorial warnings on tobacco packs: Srcs

A row sparked off after the Parliamentary panel shot down the NDA government’s decision to increase the pictorial warning to 80 percent from 40 percent.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly directed the Health Ministry Saturday to increase the size of pictorial warning on tobacco packs to 65 percent and not to take into account the views of people with conflict of interest.

A row sparked off after the Parliamentary panel shot down the NDA government’s decision to increase the pictorial warning to 80 percent from 40 percent.

Health Minister JP Nadda had said, “We will go by Parliament panel recommendation on pictorial warning. The issue has come about the pictoral warning its because of the subordinate legislative committee of Parliament. They have said there are certain issues which they want to deliberate”.

The Parliamentary Committee, which Dilip Kumar Gandhi — a BJP MP from Maharashtra heads, had “strongly” urged the government to keep on hold its proposal to increase the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco packets from 40 percent to 85 percent.

“All agree on the harmful effects of tobacco. But there is no Indian survey report to prove that tobacco consumption leads to cancer. All the studies are done abroad. Cancer does not happen only because of tobacco.

We have to study the Indian context, as four crore people in states like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh are dependent on bidi-making through Tendupatta,” Gandhi said.

Allahabad MP Shyama Charan Gupta said the pictoral warnings should remain at 40 percent and the demand to make it 80 percent was not genuine. Gupta also said that sugar causes diabetes and should be banned by the same logic. He added that beedis are less harmful.

Gupta said, “Pictorial warnings should remain at 40 percent. Demand to make warnings 80 percent is not genuine. Sugar causes diabetes and it should be banned by same logic. Beedis are less harmful than sugar.”

Another BJP MP from Sonitpur Ram Prasad Sharma backed Gandhi saying, “A person from my constituency used to smoke 60 cigarettes a day and died a natural death at the age of 86. Another person who smokes 40 cigarettes a day is still alive. They don’t have cancer. “

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