New Delhi: After Bharatiya Janata Party MP Dilip Kumar Gandhi sparked a row for expressing apprehension over government's plan for larger pictorial warnings on tobacco products, a party MP backed his position.
BJP MP Shyama Charan Gupta said the pictoral warnings should remain at 40 per cent and the demand to make it 80 per cent is not genuine. Gupta also said that sugar causes diabetes and should be banned by the same logic. He added that beedis are less harmful.
Gupta said, "Pictorial warnings should remain at 40 per cent. Demand to make warnings 80 per cent is not genuine. Sugar causes diabetes and it should be banned by same logic. Beedis are less harmful than sugar."
Gandhi headed a 15-member parliamentary committe and said India cannot rely on surveys done abroad that link tobacco to cancer.
Gandhi said, "We felt that we do not have a survey that was done in our country. We are acting based on the survey done in another country."
The Parliamentary Committee, which Gandhi -- a BJP MP from Maharashtra heads, had "strongly" urged the government to keep on hold its proposal to increase the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco packets from 40 per cent to 85 per cent.
"All agree on the harmful effects of tobacco. But there is no Indian survey report to prove that tobacco consumption leads to cancer. All the studies are done abroad. Cancer does not happen only because of tobacco. We have to study the Indian context, as four crore people in states like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh are dependent on bidi-making through Tendupatta," Gandhi said.