Indian television channels become vehicle for tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) violations in India - results of a sub-national survey in a northern Indian city
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Indira Gandhi Medical College, Hospital Administration, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A477
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Indian tobacco control legislation (Section 5, subsequent rules dated October 2nd, 2012 of COTPA, 2003) puts complete ban on Tobacco Advertisement Promotion and Sponsorships (TAPS), but industry is circumventing the law to carry the bussiness. Rules also mandate that, if there are tobacco use scenes in a movie or television program, a health spot, an audio visual disclaimer and health warning must be displayed during the telecast. However, there are gaps in the implementation. It is important for law enforcers to understand the nature and types of TAPS violations being carried out through television channel to better prepared for taking action.

Total 32 television channels telecasted between January-March 2017 in Shimla city in Northern India selected through stratified random sampling were observed during prime time (19:00 PM-22:00 PM) for their compliance to the provisions of Indian cinema and television rules, 2012. The TV programs including serials and movies and the advertisements in between the programs were assessed as per the pre-tested checklist.

Direct advertisements were not found in any of the channel. In near one fourth of television channels, TAPS was carried out as surrogate advertisements in the form of mouth freshners and paan masala and brand stretching/trademark diversification. Atleast one smoking scene was found in 9 television channels playing the movie, however, specified health spot, audio-video disclaimer and health warning could be observed in eight channels. News channels and regional channels had comparatively more surrogate advertisments and smoking violations as compared to other channels.

Cinema and television rules under Section 5 of COTPA are not strictly implemented in Indian television channels. TAPS are being carried out as surrogate advertisments, brand stretching and trademark diversification. Statuary requirements recommended under the rules for scenes showing tobacco uses are not followed. A stronger action from authorities is needed against the violators.

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