Puffed out

Published: Thursday 30 June 1994

-- THE anti-smoking lobby in India country will receive a shot in the arm once tougher regulations currently being drafted by the Union health ministry are implemented. The proposed measures will introduce a complete ban on tobacco advertising in the country.

Such advertising is, at present, banned on the electronic media but continues to flourish in print. And tobacco firms have also successfully advertised their products by sponsoring high-profile events. The proposed legislation will put an end to all this. Director general of health services A K Mukherjee says, "Allowing the tobacco industry to sponsor charity shows and matches is like taking money from Dawood Ibrahim to build a hospital."

Other aspects of the legislation include a stronger warning on the packet as well as indications of tar and nicotine content. Sale of cigarettes within 100 m of schools and educational institutions, hospitals and medical institutions will be banned. Besides, smoking will be prohibited in public places like educational and medical institutions, domestic flights, railway sleeper coaches and buses. To deter violators, stiff fines and penal provisions are being incorporated in the bill.

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