Last updated: December 7, 2020

Other Packaging and Labeling Requirements

Warning requirements on unit packaging and labeling (e.g., packs)

Yes
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Analysis

Package is defined in the law as both including “a wrapper, box, carton, tin or other container” and “any type of pack in which cigarette and other tobacco product is packaged for consumer sale but shall not include wholesale, semi wholesale or poora packages if such packages are not intended for consumer use.” The law and the rules require that packages carry health warnings.

As packages must carry health warnings, the law meets FCTC Art. 11.

Warning/messages required on outside packaging and labeling (e.g., cartons)

Yes
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Analysis

“Package” is defined in COTPA as “a wrapper, box, carton, tin or other container and in the Rules as any type of pack in which cigarette and other tobacco product is packaged for consumer sale but shall not include wholesale, semi wholesale or poora packages if such packages are not intended for consumer use.” We understand that these definitions should be read together. We also understand that cartons are considered a semi-wholesale product. G.S.R. 693(E) Sec. (2)(i), however, provides that health warnings also shall be printed on “any other external packaging, such as cartons or boxes and will not include other packaging such as gunny bags.”

As external packaging must carry health warnings, the law meets FCTC Art. 11.

Warning texts must be in the principal language(s) of the country

Yes
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Analysis

The law provides that the health warning must be in English, an Indian language, or both, depending upon which language is used on the rest of the package. G.S.R. 727(E) establishes requirements for various language combinations (English, Hindi, Indian and foreign) to be utilized for the warning depending on the language that appears on the pack.

A requirement that warnings or messages may not be placed where they may be permanently damaged or concealed when opening the pack

Yes
Analysis

The Rules provide that “none of the elements of the specified warning [can be] severed, covered or hidden in any manner when the package is sealed or opened.”

As the law mandates that the health warning must be intact and visible in its entirety when the tobacco package is either sealed or opened, the law is aligned with FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines para. 8, which describes health warning positioning.

A requirement that tax stamps or other required markings may not be placed where they may conceal warnings or messages

Yes
Analysis

The Rules provide that “none of the elements of the specified warning [can be] severed, covered or hidden in any manner when the package is sealed or opened.” Although the law does not explicitly address the position of the health warning in relation to tax stamps and other required markings, we interpret the law as prohibiting such markings from concealing or obscuring the health warning based upon the broad wording of the Rule that that the health warning must be intact and visible in its entirety when the tobacco package is either sealed or opened.

As the law prohibits tax stamps and other required markings from concealing the health warning, the law aligns with FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines para. 10.

A requirement to display qualitative (descriptive) constituents and emissions messages

No
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Analysis

FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines para. 44 provides that the display of figures for emission yields (such as tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide) should be prohibited because such yield numbers are misleading.

Conversely, COTPA Sec. 7(5) requires that “every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco product produced, supplied, or distributed . . . indicates thereon, or on its label, the nicotine and tar contents on each cigarette . . . .” Section 7(5), however, has not been brought into force by the government.

The COTPA drafters instead should require qualitative (descriptive) statements regarding constituents and emissions, such as “smoking exposes you to more than 60 cancer-causing chemicals” or “smoke from these cigarettes contains benzene, a known cancer-causing substance.”

Prohibition on the display of figures for emission yields (including tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide)

No
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Analysis

FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines para. 44 provides that the display of figures for emission yields (such as tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide) should be prohibited because such yield numbers are misleading.

Although not yet brought into effect, COTPA Sec. 7(5) conversely requires that “every package of cigarettes or any other tobacco product produced, supplied, or distributed . . . indicates thereon, or on its label, the nicotine and tar contents on each cigarette . . . .”

The COTPA drafters instead should require qualitative (descriptive) statements regarding constituents and emissions, such as “smoking exposes you to more than 60 cancer-causing chemicals” or “smoke from these cigarettes contains benzene, a known cancer-causing substance.”

Plain or standardized packaging

No
Analysis

Plain packaging of tobacco products is not required in India. The FCTC Art. 11 Guidelines provide that Parties should consider adopting plain packaging measures that restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colors, brand images, or other promotional information on packaging other than brand and product names displayed in a standard color and font style. Plain packaging aims to reduce the appeal of tobacco products, to increase the noticeability of health warnings, and to reduce the ability of the packaging of tobacco products to mislead consumers about the harmful effects of smoking.

Prohibition on misleading tobacco packaging & labeling including terms, descriptors, trademarks, figurative or other signs (logos, colors, images that directly create a false impression that a tobacco product is less harmful than other tobacco products)

Yes
Analysis

G.S.R. 182(E) Sec. 3(1)(g) provides that “no tobacco product package or label shall contain any information that is false, misleading, or deceptive, or that is likely or intended to create an erroneous impression about the characteristics, health effects, health or other hazards of the tobacco product or its emissions. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to the use of words or descriptors, whether or not part of the brand name, such as 'light,’ 'ultra light,' 'mild,' 'ultra mild,' 'low tar,' 'slim,' 'safer,' or similar words or descriptors; any graphics associated with such words or descriptors; and any product package design characteristics, associated with, likely or intended to be associated with, such descriptors.”

As the law prohibits misleading tobacco product packaging and labeling including terms, descriptors, trademarks, or figurative or other signs that directly or indirectly create a false impression that a tobacco product is less harmful than other tobacco products, the law meets FCTC Art. 11.