Centre directs states to restrict advertisement, promotion of tobacco products

Move follows Supreme Court vacating stay on rules regulating tobacco advertisement and distribution

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Wednesday 16 January 2013

The Centre has directed all states to restrict advertisement of tobacco products. Special secretary in the Union health ministry, Keshav Desiraju, has written a letter to this effect to all chief secretaries of states and director generals of police, instructing them to implement the rules that limit all forms of advertisement (direct or indirect), promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products. The deadline for implementing the rules is yet to be finalised.

The move follows a Supreme Court vacating the stay of the Bombay High court on January 3 on the advertisement clause of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (Amendment) Rules 2005. The rules were notified in 2005, but could not be implemented because of the stay.

The Bombay High court, in 2006, stayed the rules that essentially discourage the consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products to protect the youth and general population from the harmful effects of tobacco use. The stay was given on a plea moved by the industry.

In black and white

Referring to section 5 of Control of Tobacco Products Act, the secretary has written that the health warning must be prominent, legible and in black colour with a white background.

He has directed that the size of the board used for the advertisement of cigarettes and any other tobacco products displayed at the entrance of a warehouse or a shop where cigarette or any other tobacco products is offered for sale shall not exceed 60cm x 45cm. Each such board shall contain in an Indian language, as applicable, one of the following warning occupying the top edge of the board in a prominent manner measuring 20 cm x 15 cm—Tobacco causes cancer or Tobacco kills.

The display board shall only list the type of tobacco products available and no brand pack shot, brand name of the tobacco products or other promotional message and picture shall be displayed on the board. The display board shall not be backlit or illuminated in any manner.

In the letter, the secretary has directed the states “to issue appropriate instructions to the officers of the health, home and municipal administration departments, as also any others who may be concerned.” The states are also to share status of action with the Centre.


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