Bengaluru/New Delhi/ Panaji: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has favoured bigger pictorial warnings on tobacco products and the health ministry now intends to cover 85 per cent of the display area of beedi, cigarette and chewable tobacco packets, sources said on Saturday. Modi has asked Health Minister JP Nadda to appoint a committee to look into the matter.

Sources say the health ministry intends to cover 85 per cent of the display area of products

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at a press conference in Bengaluru that the government intends to discourage tobacco use. But Jaitley distanced the Bharatiya Janata Party from its MP Dilip Gandhi’s comments that there was no evidence linking tobacco with cancer. “In individual capacity, people can say anything. The government takes measured decisions.” Gandhi is a member of the parliamentary committee on subordinate legislation on tobacco.

“A multi-pronged approach will be taken to discourage the use of tobacco,” Jaitley said. Sources in the health ministry said the government intended to go ahead with 85 per cent coverage as far as pictorial warnings were concerned. Union Health Minister JP Nadda said that his ministry was stable on its stand against tobacco. “The BJP, health ministry, and I maintain that tobacco consumption is not healthy and should be avoided,” he said.