ADIC calls for pictorial warnings on 80% of surface area of cigarette packaging



Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) yesterday stressed that it was unclear as to which size of the Pictorial Health Warnings (PHWs) was to be used under the precedence of authority, as the Parliament had unanimously approved covering 80 percent with PHWs, and the Court of Appeal had delivered a judgment limiting it to a maximum of 60 percent.


Issuing a press statement ADIC mentioned that the scientific research strongly provided evidence to use PHWs of size larger than 75 percent to derive effective results in encouraging cessation and discouraging initiation of smoking to curb the tobacco menace in the long run.


In 2012, the government published a special gazette notification approving the implementation of PHWs in Sri Lanka. In February this year, Parliament approved unanimously the Bill submitted by the Health Minister imposing an 80 per cent PHWs on cigarette packets.


The Bench comprising Justices Anil Gooneratne and Malinie Gunaratne made an order sequel to a writ application filed by Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) challenging the Tobacco Products (Labelling and Packaging) Regulation No. 01 of 2012 of the Ministry of Health through the Gazette Extraordinary No 1770/15 dated August 8, 2012 that pictorial warnings cover 80 percent of the outside of a cigarette packet.


The Court directed the petitioner Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) to use only 40 percent of the surface area for its trade marks.


Here is the full text of the press statement,


"ADIC News Release on Judgment of the Court of Appeal regarding Pictorial Health Warnings (PHWs) on 12th May 2014


It is a great victory in the history of Public Health in Sri Lanka that the Court of Appeal delivering its judgment acknowledging the importance of implementing pictorial health warnings (PHWs) on cigarette packaging to enforce the implementation of such. The Court decision has clearly given directive powers to the Minister of Health to decide the size of pictorial warning from the range of 50%-60% and impalement PHWS in Sri Lanka.


It is very well known that BAT (British American Tobacco) which owns more than 92% of the Ceylon Tobacco Company has compromised the brand name and logos completely in Australia, which has imposed plain packaging and in countries like Uruguay they have limited the brand details into 20%. So we believe they will be able to limit their brand name and logos to 20% and impose PHWs covering 80% of the primary surface area of cigarette packaging in Sri Lanka.


Under the circumstances Parliament unanimously approving covering 80% with PHWs, and the Court of Appeal placing a judgment on a maximum of 60%, it is unclear as to which size of the PHWs is to be used under the precedence of authority. The scientific research strongly provide evidence to use PHWs of size larger than 75% to derive effective results in encouraging cessation and discouraging initiation of smoking to curb the tobacco epidemic in the long run.


However, the dialogue initiated among the professionals across many fields, academics, media and public including smokers regarding the importance of having PHWs covering 80% of the cigarette packs and the disapproval generated against the tobacco companies and its interference is highly commendable


We, ADIC request you to do your bit and support implementation of pictorial health warnings covering not less than 80% of principal surface area of cigarette packaging, as responsible professionals, academics, media and most importantly as Sri Lankan citizens who carry the immense responsibility of creating a better future for our children and youth".


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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