The implementation of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Packing and Labelling) Rules 2008 follows a long battle between NGOs and tobacco industries. The Central government had deferred the new law for six months in the wake of pressure from influential tobacco companies.
About 40 pc the space on the front of all packets of tobacco products will go for the pictorial warning. Flouting the rules would attract fines up to Rs 5,000 with or without two years of imprisonment for the manufacturer. The dealer or seller can be fined up to Rs 1,000 with or without a year's imprisonment.
Union Health Ministry sources said that the pictorial warnings are a crucial step to protect the public from the hazards of tobacco and second hand smoke. It also believes that this might results in reduction of tobacco and smoking by the young. However the tobacco industry feels that the pictorial warnings are likely to hit business and will encourage smuggling of imported cigarettes that are free of such signages.