Victory

Thank You for the 85% Pictorial Warnings on tobacco products

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May 12, 2016

Honourable Shri Narendra Modi

Prime Minister of India

Government of India

Honourable Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda

Minister of Health and Family Welfare

Government of India

Dear Hon'ble Prime Minister and Health Minister, 

My name is Senthil Kumar; I live in Bengaluru, and I am a tobacco victim. I was diagnosed with oral cancer, from which I recovered after many years of suffering and several invasive surgeries. My friend Asif, who also had to undergo several hours of painful surgery, did not survive. If only we were aware of the hazards attached with tobacco consumption we might have made different choices. 

I would like to thank you personally and on behalf of other victims of tobacco use for implementing 85% graphic health warnings on all tobacco products from April 1. I became addicted to smokeless tobacco when I was very young, at the age of 18. At that time, I was barely aware of the harmful effects of tobacco use and there were no pack warnings to teach me about them. The new warnings will save millions of lives by helping people to quit, and by dissuading potential new users, particularly the poor, illiterate, children and youth by informing them about the true dangers of tobacco consumption.   

These new graphic health warnings are perfectly timed to limit India’s tobacco epidemic. Currently, there are more than 27.5 crore tobacco users in India and every year, about 10 lakh Indians die of tobacco-related diseases. Tragically, nearly 5,500 children start using tobacco each day, many of them as young as 8 years old. Tobacco is a scourge that costs families and India RS. 1,04,500 crores in healthcare costs, in addition to an immense price in destroyed families and lost human potential. 

I commend the Government of India for adopting the health warnings and for resisting tobacco industry pressure to delay or reduce the size of the warnings. The industry uses tobacco packages to promote its deadly products and entice young people; however, you and your government have shown that the industry’s demands cannot trump the protection of the health of Indians. I implore the government to stand firm in its decision and resist any pressure. 

Sincerely, 

Senthil Kumar

Tobacco Victim



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