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Busting Swine Flu Myths- Dr. Mukesh Batra

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The death toll thanks to the H1N1 viral flu is increasing. Famous homeopath Dr. Mukesh Batra talks about homeopathy treatment for the disease.

 

Swine flu is creating panic all over the world and there are many myths, misconceptions, and rumours going around that are only making matters worse. Under these circumstances, it is therefore important for people to stay calm and composed so that they act responsibly and appropriately. Many think that a vaccine for swine flu will do the trick and protect against the virus. However, the truth is that no one can be sure about this because viruses are known to mutate easily, thereby rendering such a vaccine useless. Some scientists are even afraid about the possibility of another mutation taking place when the swine flu virus H1N1 comes into contact with the Bird flu virus H5N1. This again is just a remote possibility and not a certain outcome. People were under the impression that just because bird flu spread by eating infected poultry, swine flu could spread by eating infected pork. It is now confirmed by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention that that it is safe to eat hygienically cooked pork. The amount of protection offered by masks is also not very clear. Although they could definitely reduce the likelihood of contracting the infection, they cannot really assure complete protection. Thus, it is safer to avoid coming in close proximity with patients with flu-like symptoms. Another trend is closing down schools, colleges, or other institutions to prevent the spread of the disease and advising people to stay at home. This, however, is not a feasible option and is hence not recommended. The biggest solace is the fact that the infection seems to be moderate in intensity in majority of the patients with only a small section, especially those with underlying pathologies or poor immunity, succumbing to the disease.

 
 

With so much of uncertainty around, giving Homeopathy an opportunity to prevent or treat the disease makes perfect sense for two reasons. Firstly, disease causing organisms can never get resistant to homeopathic remedies because homeopathic medicines do not target the causative organisms directly. They stimulate the body’s defences instead to attack and overpower the invaders. Secondly, being free of adverse side-effects, homeopathic medicines can be safely administered in infants, pregnant women, and the aged. Knowing that conventional medicines are strong, aggressive, and at times even invasive, it goes without saying then that Homeopathy should ideally be the first line of treatment. As homeopathic medicines themselves behave like vaccines by modulating the immunity of an individual, these should be immediately employed in the meanwhile before a successful swine flu vaccine actually enters the market. Antiviral preparations should be used only if the desired curative response is not seen in spite of homeopathic treatment. In acute illnesses like flu, patients usually respond very fast to Homeopathy; and therefore, a homeopath can easily tell within a day or two following the commencement of treatment whether the disease is responding positively, progressing, or heading towards complications. All said and done, one thing is for sure. In pandemics like these, the patient has to be closely monitored by the treating physician, irrespective of his or her specialization, so as to ensure that an unnecessary delay in treatment never occurs. In fact, an approach in which Homeopathy is boldly backed by conventional medicine, where the latter is used wisely and not indiscriminately, seems to be the way to go!

 
 


 
 

What does homeopathy have to say about swine flu?

The fact that diseases are not caused by the mere presence of disease-causing organisms in the internal or external environment, but rather due to the weakening of the body’s defence mechanisms, has always been recognised by homeopathy. Therefore, while the use of antibiotic and antiviral preparations can be rendered useless if the organism gets resistant to them by undergoing a mutation, this can never happen with homeopathic remedies because unlike medicines from other medical systems that target only the disease-causing germs or aim to offer symptomatic relief, homeopathic medicines act upon the immune system and restorative energies of the body so that it heals itself. Other systems simply suppress symptoms and treat the body in parts, whereas homeopathy recognises the body as a unified whole and confronts the problem from deep within. Thus, swine flu for homeopathy is just another type of flu that can be treated by stimulating the immune system to overpower the virus. 

 
 

Which homeopathic medicines should be taken to treat the disease?

In the past, various flu epidemics such as the Spanish flu and bird flu have been successfully treated and prevented by homeopathic remedies like Gelsemium, Bryonia, Influenzinum, and Oscillococcinum. These could certainly be of value even in the prevention or treatment of swine flu. In homeopathy, remedy selection depends upon the disease manifestation and not merely the diagnosis; therefore, the prescription varies from case to case. During epidemics, however, since the disease symptoms are more or less similar in most of the cases, a single remedy may help to treat the disease. Such a homeopathic medicine is termed the ‘genus epidemicus.’ The theory of vaccination borrows from the isopathic concept of homeopathy where medicines prepared from the causative organisms (isodes) or affected tissues themselves (nosodes) are used to treat the same or similar diseases in the same or other patients. Preparing an isode or nosode of the swine flu virus is another option that homeopathic pharmaceutical companies could consider in the prophylaxis or therapeutics of the disease. 

 
 

What precautions should be taken by the affected person?

The affected person should avoid meeting people till the disease runs its course. Covering the nose and mouth with a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing is important to prevent spreading the virus to others. Wearing a mask will also help for the same purpose. The patient should not share his or her clothes, towels, soap, and other personal objects with others and must not eat or drink from the same utensils as others. This is necessary because the virus is usually present in all the secretions of the body such as saliva, sweat, phlegm, urine, and stool. As in all viral infections, the patient should drink a lot of fluids to stay well hydrated. Eating nutritious food and resting adequately is a must to help the body to recover as well as to prevent complications or secondary infections. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, majority of the cases that require hospitalization or succumb to the disease are those people who concurrently have underlying pathologies like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, obesity, or extremely poor immunity. Therefore, such patients should be closely monitored.

 
 

Can homeopathic medicines cure the disease?

An acute illness like flu always heals by crisis or lysis, i.e., it runs its natural course leading to recovery, complications, or death. Thus, in such cases, it is the body that cures itself and homeopathic remedies facilitate this curative process. The logic behind the treatment is not just to relieve symptoms. It is to cut short the natural course of the disease or to allow it to run its course uneventfully without any complications or mortality. Viral infections further drop the immunity of an individual so as to lead to secondary bacterial infections or can even evoke abnormal responses from the body to give rise to autoimmune diseases or pave the way for the development of some cancer. Since homeopathic remedies basically correct the imbalances of the immune system, such problems can largely be prevented.  

 
 

Is homeopathy the preferred choice of medication?

Homeopathic remedies, being infinitesimally small doses, are absolutely safe. They are palatable, non-invasive, and do not produce any deleterious side-effects even when taken for prolonged periods of time. Natural and harmless, they can be administered to infants or the aged without any risk of any adverse reactions. Another major advantage is that homeopathic medicines are cost-effective too as thousands of serial dilutions can be created out of a single drop of the source material. homeopathic remedies are curative as well as preventive; besides, a single remedy can treat symptoms related to multiple organs or systems and also offer protection against complications. There is no question of the causative organisms getting resistant to homeopathic drugs as the latter have no direct action on the former. Considering all these plus points, Homeopathy definitely should be the preferred choice of medication

  

Written by sreelakshmi

23 August, 2009 at 8:06 am

ONSCREEN SMOKING NOW VERIFIED TO HAVE IMPACT ON ADOLESCENT SMOKING

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Stark figures on smoking initiation after exposure to onscreen smoking, reveals US survey

In another step towards proving that onscreen smoking does have a definite negative impact on adolescent, and a villain’s smoking makes even more impact than a hero’s smoking; two studies were published recently from the USA.

A study to determine exposure to movie smoking in relation to smoking initiation among US adolescents was conducted by random–digital-dial survey on 6522 adolescents aged 10 to 14 years. Prevalence of smoking was about 2% among those with the lowest exposure to smoking in movies, steadily going up to almost 30% among those with highest exposure.

This study demonstrates, in a nationally representative US sample of young adolescents, that exposure to movie smoking has a strong association with smoking initiation and that the association holds within broad racial and ethnic categories and regardless of where the adolescent resides. It also suggests that, exposure to movie smoking is a primary independent risk factor, accounting for smoking initiation in more than one-third of US adolescents 10 to 14 years of age.

In light of the recent unfortunate comments made by the Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad that smoking in movies has little effect on children, these studies provide definite proof that exposure to smoking in films does impact the youth and influence them to initiate smoking.

In another longitudinal, random-digit-dial telephone survey of 6522 US adolescents, conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, current smoking status and movie exposure was assessed 4 times over 24 months. The adolescents surveyed were asked whether they had seen any recently released movies, in which smoking by major characters was identified, along with the type of portrayal. The portrayal was divided into negative, positive, and mixed/neutral categories.

By the 24-month follow-up survey, 15.9% of the baseline never-smokers had tried smoking. Within the sample of movies selected, 3848 major characters were identified, of whom 69% were male. Smokers represented 22.8% of 518 negative characters, 13.7% of 2486 positive characters, and 21.1% of 844 mixed/neutral characters.

The study clearly shows that smoking in movies and impacts adolescent smoking initiation – regardless of character type, which demonstrates the importance of limiting exposure to smoking as it is portrayed on screen. In fact, the study has also shown that negative character portrayals of smoking have stronger impact on low risk-taking adolescents; undercutting the often-repeated argument that smoking by villain in a film is ok.

“These are just some of the multitude of studies that have been, and are being conducted internationally that prove that depiction of smoking in films does have definite impact on the smoking behaviour of youth across geographies,” said Dr. P.C.Gupta, Director, Healis – Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health. “In light of such conclusive research reports, it is essential for the authorities to recognize the health risks that such exposure creates, and take necessary action to see to it that smoking in films is banned. The urban and semi-urban youth in India are either avid moviegoers or watch movies at home, and when they see their favourite stars on screen, whether hero or villain, they try and emulate this by beginning to smoke themselves. By curbing scenes which depict smoking in movies, a lot can be accomplished in preventing initiation smoking among youth” he added.

In India today, the movie-watching population – especially among adolescents – is in the millions, and since it is proven that any depiction of smoking on-screen has the ability to impact these young moviegoers and influence them to initiate smoking, the authorities need to take immediate steps to curb such on-screen depiction of smoking, and not pass such depictions in the name of ‘creative freedom, as is being done today.

Written by sreelakshmi

17 July, 2009 at 6:06 am

BAXTER ADVANCES TO FULL-SCALE PRODUCTION OF A/H1N1 VACCINE

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Anticipates Delivery As Early As July

Baxter International Inc. announced recently that it has completed testing and evaluation of the A/H1N1 influenza virus and is now in full-scale production of a commercial A/H1N1 vaccine using its Vero cell culture technology. Baxter received an A/H1N1 strain from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center] in early May and is diligently working to deliver a pandemic vaccine for use as early as July.

WHO raised the pandemic alert level to phase 6, indicating a global influenza pandemic involving the 2009 A/H1N1 strain. Baxter is in contact with WHO and other global public health authorities regarding the pandemic. A number of national public health authorities have existing pandemic agreements with Baxter that allow them to place orders for a vaccine now that a pandemic has been declared by WHO. These

public health authorities will be evaluating their needs to determine their orders for vaccine supply. Despite the company’s existing obligations to supply vaccine under a pandemic phase 6 alert, Baxter is also committed to working with WHO to allocate a portion of the company’s commercial production to address global public health issues deemed most urgent.

 Using its Vero cell technology, Baxter has received European Medicines Agency (EMEA) approval for a mock-up pandemic vaccine called CELVAPAN, the brand name for the company’s pandemic vaccine. The qualification, development and manufacturing processes used in gaining mock-up licensure for CELVAPAN apply as the company uses this new influenza A/H1N1 virus strain to produce a pandemic vaccine. The CELVAPAN EMEA licensure supports fast track approval of a pandemic vaccine containing the A/H1N1 virus strain. Baxter will submit the A/H1N1 vaccine for approval upon completion of initial manufacturing runs.

Baxter’s research and development, manufacturing capabilities and pandemic planning expertise allow the company to efficiently develop candidate vaccines against potentially emerging influenza viruses. Baxter believes that its Vero cell technology can be used to safely and reliably produce a vaccine in response to this global public health issue. It is possible that Baxter’s Vero cell technology may offer advantages, in that it may allow more rapid production and delivery of pandemic vaccines.

 

 


Written by sreelakshmi

15 June, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Bajaj Allianz Launches Invest Plus and revolutionizes the Insurance market YET AGAIN!!!

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Bajaj Allianz once again revolutionizes the life insurance industry by launching Invest Plus – a traditional plan that offers transparency and flexibility of ULIPs with minimum guaranteed investment returns, which is guaranteed at the beginning of the year itself. This is the first of its kind traditional plan that offers upfront minimum guaranteed investment returns at the beginning of each year and an guaranteed maturity value so that customers can feel protected at all times and plan their investments without any worries.


Kamesh Goyal,
Country Manager, Allianz & CEO, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, said, “Invest Plus offers guaranteed benefits in these uncertain times. The USP is the transparency of a ULIP product in a traditional product. The Minimum Guaranteed Investment Return works towards the benefit of the customer as he gets an upfront minimum guaranteed rate of return. This would be beneficial irrespective of market conditions as he is equally compensated by a Guaranteed Return.”


“This is the first traditional insurance plan which offers unmatched flexibilities and transparency similar to a ULIP. Flexibility of choosing life cover is another benefit offered to customers” commenting on the product Anil Singh, Head Product Development, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance.

Minimum Guaranteed Investment Return stands for a rate of return which is declared at the beginning of each financial year itself and promises to offer the customer the same return for the year irrespective of the market scenario. Like, for the current financial year 09-10 it is 7%.

Another unique feature of Invest Plus is that it offers Guarantees like Guaranteed Maturity Value (GMV) and Guaranteed Investment Return (GIR), GIR is declared at the beginning of each financial year and GMV is equivalent to the total regular premiums paid till maturity date.

Flexibility Features:

  • Flexibility to pay additional premium when every you like- Gain upto 121% credit on Additional premium paid
  • Flexibility to decrease premiums as per choice.
  • Flexibility in choice of amount of life insurance cover

Advance Features:

  • Refund of up to 100% of cost of insurance cover paid
  • Take a loan against the policy
  • Loyalty Addition from 11th policy year onwards to enhance the accrued maturity value by an amount equivalent to 10% of each Net Premium paid.

Written by sreelakshmi

15 June, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Return Empty Tetra Pak packages, Get Recycled Gifts

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Now this is something really good that is taking place. Recently, Tetra Pak and Hyper City has launched awareness and environment campaign for shoppers at HyperCity, Mumbai to mark the occasion of World Environment Day.

On the occasion of World Environment Day, HyperCity and Tetra Pak with support from Gujarat-based Tetra Pak package recycler Daman Ganga Board Mills are running a green initiative for the environment – conscious shoppers of Hypercity hypermarket’s two locations – Malad and Vashi in Mumbai.  The initiative is called “Good for You, Good for the Earth”.

The initiative involves educating shoppers – over a ten-day period which has started from June 5th about how Tetra Pak packages are not only “Good for You” (i.e. they help protect foods through aseptic processing and packaging technology and keep them safe) but also “Good for the Earth” (i.e. the packages are 100% recyclable and more and more facilities exist for cartons to be collected and sent for recycling).

 Speaking on the occasion Mr. Jaideep Gokhale, Programme Head – Food for Development Office & Environment, Tetra Pak India Pvt. Ltd said “Tetra Pak prides itself in being an environment conscious organization and over the past few years has taken lead in creating environment awareness among people. On the occasion of World Environment Day we are determined to create awareness amongst the public by educating them and making them see the health as well as environment benefits of choosing well, for example, choosing Tetra Pak packages and we also want people to follow some good waste management practices. We thank Hyper City for partnering with us for this novel initiative”.

“HyperCity sees this partnership with Tetra Pak as an educational initiative, of using the occasion of World Environment Day to make consumers more conscious of their health as well as their environment and to make the right choices based on information provided to them.”  says Hyper City’s Venkateshwar Rao, Category Manager – Staples, Beverages and Dairy.

 At both locations, promoters will approach shoppers, detail the benefits and also make them conscious of the proper steps to dispose empty Tetra Pak packages.  Shoppers that bring back empty Tetra Pak packages over the next 10 days stand to win exciting and free recycled gifts on-the-spot.  What’s more, separate collection bins for Tetra Pak packages and other recyclables (bottles, plastic bags, paper waste etc.) have been arranged by HyperCity and Tetra Pak for permanent placement in the stores, so that a culture of waste segregation and recovery is inculcated amongst shoppers.  Through Daman Ganga’s and Tetra Pak’s network with the waste dealer community, the bins will be emptied and the collected waste will be recovered to be sent for recycling.

 Tetra Pak over the last few years has taken a 360 degree approach towards environment conservation. The company has undertaken measures such as reduction in noise levels and electricity consumption besides waste recycling at its production facilities on a mass scale. Tetra Pak’s initiatives in the recycling space have been highly credible – the company has identified recyclers and helps them collect cartons with the help of waste-pickers and waste paper dealers. Simultaneously, Tetra Pak invests in educating consumers, waste trade and recyclers about the benefit of waste segregation, the recyclability of cartons and the value of used cartons. It must be noted that 100% of the carton – including the polyethylene and aluminum – can be recycled into various useful products. In partnership with WWF, Tetra Pak has taken steps to spread awareness on environment through the ‘Young Climate Savers’ program. For more information, please visitwww.youngclimatesavers.com

 

COMMENTS FROM UNION HEALTH MINISTER DRAWS FLAK FROM TOBACCO CONTROL LOBBY IN INDIA

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Remarks termed as irresponsible; scientific evidence from global studies proves adverse effects of on-screen smoking on viewers

Recently, the new Union health minister, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad, has made certain comments that are detrimental to the massive tobacco control efforts in India and keenly supported by the erstwhile health minister Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss and the tobacco control communities in the country. “On-screen smoking in movies and television was defended as creative expression and freedom.” This is in direct contradiction to the efforts to curb the portrayal of smoking on screen earlier by the health ministry.

There seems to be little awareness of the fact that the demand for restrictions on such depictions of smoking has been made on the basis of scientific research. In a recent survey conducted by WHO on the same clearly showcases that exposure to onscreen smoking causes the impressionable youth and other non-smokers to light up.
The WHO has currently made demands based on scientific evidence that countries should enact enforceable policies that would severely restrict on-screen depiction of smoking. The WHO report on the issue has also recommended that all future movies with scenes of smoking should be given an adult rating, with the possible exception of movies that reflect the dangers of tobacco use or that depict smoking by a historical figure who smoked.

The Union Health Ministry is responsible for the upkeep of public health standards in the country, and through such statements, it is not only sending out a wrong message but also is totally contradictory to the efforts being put up by Government & non-governmental organizations to curb the menace of Tobacco related issues.

Reacting to the comments made by Mr. Azad, Dr. P.C. Gupta, Director, Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, said, “The tobacco control movement has gained a lot of impetus in India with the support of the union health ministry in the past. However, the comments made by the new health minister are extremely detrimental to the cause, and could actually derail the progress made in this regard. The Union health ministry should realize that smoking on screen does lead to non-smokers, especially the impressionable youth, to try and emulate their on-screen heroes by beginning to smoke.”

When the new government was elected, Public Health was announced as one of the key areas that will receive focus and Tobacco related health issues are definitely on the verge of reaching epidemic proportions in India. At this juncture, when all efforts are being made to control the use of this deadly substance, such remarks from an elected official of the ministry responsible for public health are quite unwarranted, and show lack of concern for public health,” he added.

WHO reports state that tobacco kills more than five million people every year. Alarmingly, the reports also state that approximately, a staggering 100,000 young people take up smoking every day. Based on a recent study on on-screen smoking, the WHO has come to the conclusion that “voluntary agreements to limit smoking in movies so far have

not – and cannot – work,” and that “logic and science now support enforceable policies to severely restrict smoking imagery in all film media.” Under circumstances where studies clearly reflect that smoking in movies misleads the youth into thinking that tobacco use is normal, without any portrayal of the harm of tobacco, national policies to restrict smoking in movies can produce wide-ranging global benefits.

In such a situation, public remarks that do not take into consideration such scientific evidence, and instead promote on-screen smoking are singularly inappropriate. If an issue of such high importance is so lightly disregarded, then in the long term it is bound to be extremely detrimental to the health of millions who view smoking on screen everyday.


Written by sreelakshmi

2 June, 2009 at 10:08 pm

India to implement pictorial health warnings on packets of tobacco products

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Cancer survivors speak out against tobacco and make case for stronger warnings

India has one of the highest incidences of tobacco use in the world. The World Health Organization has estimated that India has the second largest number of smokers in the world after China. According to the report “Tobacco control in India”, 800,000 – 900,000 Indians die annually due to diseases attributable to tobacco – 50% of cancer deaths, 40% of all health-related problems, and a majority of cardio-vascular and lung disorders in the country. WHO predicts that nearly one million Indians will die from smoking alone in 2010 and 70% of these deaths will be premature.

Every year, May 31st is internationally observed as World No Tobacco Day. This year, the World Health Organization has chosen on the theme of “Pictorial Health Warnings” on tobacco products. There is significant research to show that large graphic warning labels increase knowledge about risks associated with tobacco, motivate smokers and other tobacco users to quit and to discourage non-tobacco users from starting. From 31st May 2009, all tobacco products in India (sold in the market) should have pictorial warnings on their packets.

As a party to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the Government of India is obligated to implement pictorial warnings as highlighted under Article 11 of the FCTC, which states that parties to the convention must enforce the use of health warnings which “should be 50% or more of the principle display areas but shall be no less than 30% of the display areas” and may be in the form of or include picture warnings. For most cigarette packages, the “principal display areas” are the front and back of the package. The warnings to come into effect on May 31 do not meet the FCTC standards to which India is obligated, and under which, India was due to implement pictorial health warnings from 27th February, 2008, more than a year ago.

Despite the delay in implementing the pictorial warnings, the diluted pictorial warnings are welcomed with mixed reaction.

According to Dr. P.C. Gupta, Director, Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, “The beginning of Pack Warning labels on all tobacco products from May 31, 2009 is welcome, but it should be recognized that the original set of pack warnings have been considerably weakened and diluted. We can only hope that when the warnings are reviewed every six months as per the provisions in the Act, they would be stronger and more effective as it has been adopted in other countries.”

Recently, in an event themed Voice of the victim held at Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, cancer patients from across the country came together on a common platform to complain against the sale of tobacco in the country without any mention of the health hazards on any of the tobacco products being sold. They highlighted the circumstances under which they became addicted to tobacco, and the singular pattern that emerged was that the patients did not fully realise the impact that tobacco could have on their bodies and lives. This was mostly due to the fact that tobacco usage was glorified by the tobacco industry, and tobacco manufacturers did not provide any specific warnings to highlight the dangers that threaten tobacco users.

Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, Associate Professor, Head and Neck surgery service, Tata Memorial Hospital said, “The cancer patients who are speaking out against tobacco clearly highlight the vital need that pictorial warnings be implemented on tobacco products effectively, so that those who do not know the ill effects of this deadly substance can be made aware of it. There is nothing out of ordinary in the demand as the manufacturers of every product have to inform the consumers about the risk of the products.

Voicing his opinion on the effectiveness of the pictorial warnings, cancer survivor Mr. Deepak Kumar said, “It is a good start, but not sufficient. The pictorial warnings need to be improved. The warnings should cover 50% and that too on both sides of the pack with the picture of skull and bone on one side and pictorial warning on the other.”

According to another cancer survivor Mr. Pradeep Lahiri,There should be big pictorial warnings which show the reality of cancer and convey the message of anti-tobacco. These warnings should make the people feel guilty subconsciously and stop smoking. That is when the pictorial warnings would be effective.

The warnings in place definitely do not serve the purpose required of them. For one it is still unclear and worrying as to what the public would make of these images as there is no direct link for these images to the threat of cancer and other diseases caused by tobacco. Besides, the entire intention of issuing the stronger pictorial warnings covering 50% of the packet is to highlight the uneducated or unaware public of the dangers of tobacco. These images, on the other hand, simply do not match the standards required to highlight the grave threats posed by tobacco. Strong action needs to be taken to ensure that the effort towards implementing stronger pictorial warnings on tobacco products continues.