Enabling the way from policy to practice realizing the gaps and loopholes in ban on promotion
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Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A728
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FCTC Article 13 requires implementing comprehensive ban on tobacco promotion and Section 5 of the Indian Tobacco Law COTPA prescribes for complete ban on all forms of promotions and having policy regulations for tobacco product sale points. FCTC Article 11 and COTPA Section 7 (1) mandate that Tobacco products be sold with appropriate pictorial warning. However the outlet sale points display tobacco products in violation, and sell imported cigarettes without stipulated statutory pack warning. The authors made a study on the factual status of compliance in April 2017.

The authors assessed if there were any violations related to provision of tobacco sale points in Chennai through a field study. Sixty sale points in two zones was selected for assessing the compliance/violation. The study analyzed the compliance of COTPA Sections 5 and 7 (1) looking at the patterns of violations.

Findings revealed that all outlets sold imported cigarettes without appropriate pictorial warning as mandated by Indian law. 82% of the shops did not have the display board containing words, "Tobacco products not sold to children below 18 years", and only 8% of shops had display of "smoking prohibited area". 86% shops displayed the availability of cigarettes conspicuously. All studied shops provided lighters or match boxes and allowed smoking near their shops. Smoking activity could be seen in 90% of the shops observed. None of the shops had displayed board of tobacco products sold here. The authors used the outcome of the study for advocacy with the various enforcing authorities by way of enabling them to set in motion of policies.

Irrespective of various restrictions tobacco companies continue looking for loopholes and try its sophisticated and clandestine campaigns targeting to lure new users which circumvent the Indian tobacco promotional ban, which needs curbing through effective advocacy efforts for stringent implementation of law.