Mangaluru, April 04, 2015: Minister for Health and Family Welfare U T Khader forwarded a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing a Parliamentary Panel’s recommendation over pictorial warning on cigarette packets. In his letter, Khader has urged the Prime Minister to take cognizance of the issue and show commitment for a Swasth Bharath by intervening in the policy measure that has potential to save lives.
He is reported to have stated that he notes with deep dismay about the recent recommendation put forward by Member of Parliament Dilip Gandhi, to examine the health effects of tobacco on an Indian population in concern with pictorial warnings implementation. If this report is true, it is disappointing as the health hazards of tobacco are well established worldwide over decades. The carcinogenic chemicals in tobacco are the same worldwide and do not differ between countries in nature to harm humans. The same is proven fact by international agency for research on cancer - a wing of WHO and a second opinion is unnecessary.
Regarding recommendations Khader said that it clearly exposes the influence of the tobacco industry on the policy maker in a bid to distort science and influence policy. Tobacco is attributable cause for almost 40 per cent cancers in India and majority of lung or heart diseases. It is appalling that Gandhi is challenging the recommendations of WHO, United Nations, UICC, CDC, NCI etc with regard to health effects of tobacco. In Dec 2010, the SC had directed to constitute a committee to study the harmful effects of tobacco. The committee submitted a report proving beyond doubt that tobacco is indeed harmful.