India has begun printing pictorial health warnings on cigarette and other tobacco products, including photos of diseased lungs and gums, as part of efforts to cut smoking, officials said Monday.
Under the measures, pictures of scorpions (a symbol of danger), diseased lungs, decayed gums and skeletons will have to be displayed by manufacturers on packets of cigarettes, bidis and chewing tobacco.
"We hope the gory pictures on the packaging might deter people from consuming tobacco," Sutapa Biswas, executive director of the Cancer Foundation of India, told the reporters.
Smoking and chewing tobacco kill a million people every year, according to the Cancer Foundation of India.
Under the new rules, the pictures should cover at least 40 percent of a pack's main display area. Countries including Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Thailand have already been plastering picture warnings on cigarette packs.
In October 2008, India banned smoking in public places and the sale of tobacco products near educational institutes and hospitals -- but the regulations are blatantly flouted in many places.