Widows of tobacco victims, including a former minister's wife, have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking implementation of a doctors' recommendation for 85 per cent pictorial warning on tobacco products.
Nearly 653 doctors and office bearers of medical societies across the country had recently urged Modi to implement the new set of 85 per cent pictorial warning on tobacco product packages from April 1, to save millions of lives.
The letters to the prime minister's office (PMO) by the widows were written with concern about rising rate of tobacco consumption among minors and youngsters, project officer of 'Voice of Tobacco Victims Campaign' Ashima Sarin said today.
"If tobacco products are with larger pictorial warning and in non-glorified packs, the minors and youngsters are less likely to get attracted to them," Sarin said.
Sumitra Pednekar, wife of former Maharashtra minister Satish Pednekar who died of oral cancer in 2011, along with four other widows of tobacco victims yesterday wrote letters to the PM appealing to him to take stern action to check tobacco consumption and for implementation of 85 per cent pictorial warning on such products.
"I am shocked to hear that a parliamentary panel has once again stalled the implementation of the pictorial warning from April 1 this year," Pednekar told PTI over phone.
A parliamentary panel earlier this month had expressed "disappointment" with the recommendations for larger pictorial warning on tobacco products.
"What has been lost (death of husband) is lost, but we should check tobacco consumption among youngsters and minors," Pednekar said.
Selling tobacco products in non-glorified packets with larger pictorial warning rather than in toffee-like attractive packs would certainly keep the youngsters and minors away from purchase, she said.
"We were aghast to read in the newspapers that the parliamentary committee has given more importance to loss of livelihood than loss of lives of innocent Indians, one of which was my husband.
"How many more widows will this country make because of tobacco? Government must take wise decision to save Indians from tobacco than (accept) recommendations made by such a committee," the widows wrote in their letter to Modi.