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Health Minister rebuts BJP MPs, says tobacco causes cancer
Friday April 24, 2015 7:48 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Countering claims by two BJP parliamentarians, union Health Minister J.P. Nadda on Friday said tobacco was directly linked to cancer and the central government intended to go ahead with pictorial warnings on tobacco products.

Nadda told the Lok Sabha that his ministry was awaiting recommendations of the parliamentary committee on subordinate legislation to take a final call on enforcing larger pictorial warnings on tobacco products.

He said cigarette packets imported into the country would also carry pictorial warnings. "It will be the same warning."

The committee had given its interim report and the ministry was awaiting the final report. "We are crystal clear about it, we will go forward."

Dilip Gandhi, the head of the parliamentary panel, and one of its members Shyam Charan Gupta has triggered a row by saying that there was no Indian study to link tobacco with cancer.

Opposition members have attacked the central government over the statements of the two BJP MPs.

The government has put on hold its decision asking tobacco firms to introduce pictorial warnings covering 85 per cent of packaging for tobacco products after the panel urged it to wait till it submits its final report. The rule was to come into effect from April 1.

The health minister also said his ministry was creating an awareness against smoking and reaching out to school children.

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