Insights into pictorial health warnings on tobacco product packages marketed in Uttar Pradesh, India

D. S. Aruna, G. Rajesh, Vikrant Ranjan Mohanty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)


Background: The Government of India issued an undertaking in the Supreme Court mandating pictorial health warnings (PHWs) on packages of tobacco products from 31st May, 2009 under "Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act" (COTPA) guidelines. This constitutes a key economic channel for educating people on devastating health impacts of deadly products within in a vivid and memorable way. Few studies have investigated PHWs on tobacco products marketed in India. Objectives: To assess met guidelines for pictorial health warnings under packaging and labeling rules on packages of collected tobacco products specified by COTPA. Materials and Methods: Snowball/network sampling design was followed to obtain samples of 37 different tobacco brands, 18 in smoking form (12 cigarette, 6 bidi brands) and 19 in smokeless form (4 chewing tobacco, 11 Gutkha and 4 Khaini brands) marketed at retail outlets at Muradnagar. They were analyzed for their compliance with guidelines through checklist by one calibrated examiner. Results: PHWs were absent on packages of 5 tobacco brands. Fifteen tobacco brands had PHWs smaller than stipulated 40% of principal display area; 6 brands of bidis had PHWs on deceptive backgrounds, 3 of which were placed on a curved axis. Misleading descriptors and promotional messages were also present. Conclusion: Locally marketed tobacco products were not compliant with packaging and labeling rules specified by COTPA. This highlights the need for more stringent implementation of COTPA guidelines to combat the ever-growing tobacco menace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-543
Number of pages5
JournalAsian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cancer Research


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