Celebrities' voice for pictorial health warnings on cigarette packets at 'television opera' award ceremonies
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Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC), Sri Lanka
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A752
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Sri Lanka(SL) has signed and ratified FCTC treaty in 2003 and bounded to enforce the pictorial health warnings on cigarette packets (PHW-CP). The Health Minister(HM) notified the enforcement of PHW-CP by a gazette on 2012-Aug-08. But Ceylon Tobacco Company(CTC) instituted a legal action challenging the gazette notification. ADIC started island wide campaigns empowering citizens to support for the enforcement of PHW-CP.
´Sumathi Tele Award Ceremony´ is an annual glamour event conduct by the Sumathi Group of Companies to appreciate the talents of stars on television screen. Around 200 celebrities gather for this shining night.

Intervention or response:
ADIC reached this Ceremony officially from 2010-2015; conducting various campaigns on alcohol and tobacco prevention(ATP) among celebrities. In 2012 and 2013; campaigns theme was 'celebrities' support for the enforcement of PHW-CP'. Glamour signature boards of a petition were displayed at the entrance; quick discussions had with each celebrity. Video documentary of celebrities' statements for supporting to enforce PHW-CP were disseminated among them; published on social media. ATP messages, information on tobacco industry influences included organizers/diaries were distributed.

Results and lessons learnt:
Celebrities joined to work for ATP. In 2012 and 2013 respectively 180 and 141 celebrities including artists, political leaders, journalists and mass media persons signed for the petition and approximately 50 leading celebrities gave supporting statements empowering the health minister. Signed petition boards and video documentary on statements of celebrities were handed over to HM. Finally Court of Appeal refused the appeal made by CTC to quash the gazette issued by HM and implemented PHW covered 80% of the surface of cigarette packaging.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Television Award Ceremony is a stage to make ATP in glamour, effective on aware and get support of celebrities at once. Their voices and signatures are powerful and can be enforced on tobacco control policies.

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