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Compliance with packaging and labelling rules for tobacco products marketed in slum areas of Bhubaneswar, India


Background The Government of India has been issuing notifications regarding packaging and labelling rules for tobacco products since 2003 under the ‘Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act’ (COTPA) guidelines.

Methods The present cross-sectional study was carried out during November 2016 to March 2017 to assess the extent of compliance with the COTPA prescribed packaging and labelling rules for packages of tobacco products marketed in 11 slum areas of Bhubaneswar, India. From 81 retail outlets, 42 different brands of tobacco products were purchased which consisted of 23 in smoking form (17 brands of cigarette, 6 brands of bidi) and 19 in smokeless form (9 brands of gutkha, 4 brands of khaini and 6 brands of betel quid with tobacco).

Results In most of the product packages, particularly in smokeless tobacco, the health warnings were not in compliance with the COTPA specifications. In a majority of the tobacco brands (69.0%), specified health warnings occupied less than the prescribed size of 85% of the principal display area of the package. Misleading descriptors and promotional messages were also present.

Conclusion The tobacco products marketed in Bhubaneswar slums were not in compliance with the packaging and labelling rules specified by COTPA. This underscores the need for strict implementation of COTPA guidelines and enforcement measures to assure full compliance.

  • packaging and labelling
  • priority/special populations
  • surveillance and monitoring

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