The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has notified the rules for Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) [second amendment rules] 2011. These rules will be implemented from 14th November, 2011. The rules have been notified after consultation and taking into account the views of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to make is more practical and implementable.
As per the Rules all the old movies and TV programmes i.e. produced before the 14th November displaying tobacco products or its use shall have to mandatorily display:-
(a) anti-tobacco health spots or messages of minimum thirty seconds duration each at the beginning and middle of the film or the television programme.
(b) anti-tobacco health warning as a prominent scroll at the bottom of the screen during the period of such display.
And such programmes will be telecasted at such timings that are likely to have least viewership of minors.
For new films and TV programme a strong editorial justification for display of tobacco products or their use shall be given to Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) along with UA certification, and it will be accompanied by the following:
a) a disclaimer, of minimum twenty seconds duration, by the concerned actor regarding the ill effects of the use of such products, in the beginning and middle of the film or television programme;
b) anti-tobacco health spots or messages, of minimum thirty-second duration each at the beginning and middle of the film or the television programme;
c) anti-tobacco health warning as a prominent scroll at the bottom of the screen during the period of such display:
There will be a representative of MoHFW in the CBFC.
In order to restrict blatant display of tobacco brands in old films and TV programmes these rules make it mandatory to crop /mask display of brands of cigarettes or any other tobacco product or any forms of product placement, closeups and for new films and TV programmes such scenes shall be edited/blurred by the producer prior to screening. The ban on display of tobacco product or its usage also extends to promotional materials and posters as well.
India has the largest film producing industry and films have played a key role in process of social change and in influencing the Indian culture. Thus, for the tobacco industry, films provide an opportunity to convert a deadly product into a status symbol or token of independence. The role of movies as vehicles for promoting tobacco use has become even more important as other forms of tobacco promotion are constrained. This investment is part of a wider and more complex marketing strategy to support pro-tobacco social norms, including product placement in mass media, sponsorship and other modalities.
There are experimental and observational studies to show that tobacco use in films influences young people’s beliefs about social norms for smoking, as well as their beliefs about the function and consequences of smoking and their personal intention to use tobacco. Consistent with the findings of these epidemiological studies, a number of experimental studies have confirmed that seeing tobacco usage in film shifts attitude in favour of tobacco use , and that an anti-tobacco advertisement shown prior to a film with tobacco use blunts the effect of smoking imagery.
The Government of India had enacted the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, in 2003 with the objective to protect the present and future generation from the adverse harm effects of tobacco usage and second hand smoke, through imposing progressive restriction.
As per Section – 5 of the Act, all forms of advertisement (direct, indirect/surrogate) promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products is prohibited. However, it was observed that when the advertising, promotion and sponsorship ban went into force, tobacco companies developed new marketing strategies to circumvent the law through depiction of tobacco use scenes and brand placement of tobacco products in movies.
In 2003, WHO conducted a study on the portrayal of tobacco in Indian cinema and its impact on youth audience before the passage of the COTPA. Further in 2004 (post COTPA ), a second study titled on “Tobacco In Movies and Impact on Youth” documented changes in Bollywood’s tobacco imagery. This research found the following:
Key Findings WHO study (2003) Study by Burning Brain Society supported by WHO/MoH (2005)
Total tobacco containing movies 76% 89% .
Lead character smoking 40.9% 75.5%
Tobacco brands/product placement and visibility 15.7% 41.0%