Total ban on tobacco products’ ads favoured

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) The government and non-governmental organisations Tuesday favoured a complete ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products in the country.

At a national-level multi-stakeholder consultation held here, the government as well as the NGOs resolved in favour of the ban.

The consultation was organised by HRIDAY (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth) and Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) in collaboration with the health and family welfare ministry and the WHO Country Office for India.

“Despite the regulations, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is very rampant and youth-centric. There is an urgent need to strengthen the existing provisions of COTPA and a multi-sectoral and inter-governmental synergy to effectively implement a complete ban,” Monika Arora, senior director of HRIDAY, said.

Advertising of tobacco products is restricted under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, (COTPA).

According to a study conducted by HRIDAY, the current use of tobacco is five times higher in students who were highly receptive to tobacco advertising than those who were least receptive. In India more than 5,000 youth initiate tobacco use every day.

The tobacco industry spends crores of rupees every year to market its lethal products by using sophisticated and covert forms of advertising and promotion sponsorship. It links its products with success, fun and glamour, a health ministry official said.

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