Widespread violations of point-of-sale advertisements of tobacco products law around schools in India
 
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Salaam Bombay Foundation, Tobacco Control & Advocacy, India
Publish date: 2018-03-01
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A84
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ABSTRACT
Background:
In India, children and youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years are vulnerable to tobacco initiation. Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) India 2009 showed that 14.6% youth aged 13 to 15 years were tobacco users. It is evident from tobacco industry's internal documents that children and youth are targeted in marketing strategies. The area around schools where students spend a significant amount of time offer tobacco companies a valuable marketing platform. In 2016, Salaam Bombay Foundation (SBF) conducted a survey to study the various marketing strategies of tobacco industry around schools.

Methods:
Student participants of SBF's School Leadership Programme were invited to participate in the survey. In November 2015, participants received orientation training. An area within 100 yards surrounding 40 schools in Mumbai was surveyed by these students. During survey, students also took photographs of marketing strategies observed.

Results:
368 tobacco shops were identified by students around schools. 199 (54.1%) shops advertised tobacco products. 153 (41.6%) shops used at least one advertisement using specific colour schemes, patterns and designs without actual brand names. 96 (26.1%) shops had applied such stickers or adhesive panels below the counter directly at the eye level of children. 298 (81%) shops positioned tobacco products in proximity to child friendly consumer goods like candy, biscuits, stationary etc. Masking the health warnings on tobacco products, use of dummy packages for display, hanging displays of smokeless tobacco products, selling surrogate products having brand names of tobacco products were the other marketing strategies observed to target children and youth.

Conclusions:
The results of the survey suggest that the tobacco industry has developed the strategies to bypass the existing laws that limit the marketing of tobacco products with specific strategies to attract youth. In order to combat industry's efforts to target youth a strong and comprehensive law must be introduced.

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