Seeking to deflect criticism for keeping on hold the decision on bigger pictorial warnings on cigarette packs and tobacco, Health Minister J P Nadda told the Lok Sabha that the Government will see to it that the size of the health warnings are increased.
Earlier, two BJP members of a parliamentary panel had questioned if there is a link between smoking and cancer. These statements were used by Opposition members to attack the Government.
However, in an apparent retraction of the statements of his colleagues, Nadda said that there is a direct link between consumption of tobacco and cancer.
There is a direct relation between the consumption of tobacco and cancer. The ministry is consistent and crystal clear in its efforts to reduce tobacco consumption. Using pictorial warnings on tobacco products, has got a little procedural problem, which we are facing at this point of time.
— J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health
The government had put on hold its decision asking tobacco firms to introduce pictorial warnings. These warnings were to cover 85 per cent of packaging, an increase from the present 40%. The rule was to come into effect from April 1.