Home Education Indian Government plans to have tobacco warnings in school books

Indian Government plans to have tobacco warnings in school books


New Delhi, May 31, 2016: In an attempt to discourage tobacco consumption among youngsters, the health ministry is planning to introduce anti-tobacco pictorial warnings as part of essential reading for school students .

The ministry is in talks with the HRD ministry to deliberate on the proposal, a senior official said.

Estimates show around 6,000 youngsters start tobacco product consumption every day. “The idea is to catch them young and create awareness at an early stage so as to prevent them from picking up such habit,” the official told TOI.

The health ministry’s proposal includes introduction of anti-tobacco literature in various forms such as pictorial warnings, posters, cartoons, comic strips, a chapter detailing health hazards from tobacco use etc. “The proposal will be soon taken up with the HRD ministry” the official said.

Health minister J P Nadda will ask the human resource development ministry to include tobacco-related pictorial information in the school curriculum for students aged between 12 and 15 years, when they are first likely to start experimenting with tobacco.

Despite stirring a controversy, the health ministry recently increased the size of pictorial warnings on packs of all tobacco products from 40% to 85%. The official said, introduction of pictorial warnings and anti-tobacco information in school education would ensure a holistic approach.

Of India’s 275 million tobacco users, 14% are under the age of 15 but health experts say it is a gross underestimation.

The official said informal talks at the highest level have already started between health and HRD ministries.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) assessment, hard-hitting anti-tobacco advertisements and pictorial warnings deter children and youngsters from starting use and increase the number of people who want to quit.

By Sushmi Dey