Tobacco advertisements, promotion and sponsorships (TAPS): tobacco companies continue the business of lies and deception in India
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Indira Gandhi Medical College, Hospital Administration, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A725
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Tobacco companies have been using all possible tricks to market their deadly products and earn profits at the expense of lost lives. Companies are continually applying manipulative tactics and circumventing the Indian tobacco control law (COTPA). It is important for tobacco control advocates and law implementers to have an understanding how tobacco companies market their deadly products. This information is important in designing tobacco control efforts and get better prepared to counter the industries tactics. The present study was conducted with the objectives to keep a track on tobacco industry's tactics and overview the range of the ongoing TAPS violations in India.

Investigator did newspaper scans, conducted a market survey and searched leading company's website and facebook pages in 2015 and 2017. The marketing materials at point of sale (PoS), outdoor media were also analyzed.

Tobacco companies are utilizing PoS as a strategic location for carrying out TAPS. Companies are paying retailers to display the advertisement billboards; tobacco products are placed strategically to give an ambience of power walls. Most cigarette brands are offering price discounts and encouraging single cigarette sale. Contests, giveaways and coupons for gift catalogs are other gimmicks. Special edition packages of cigarette brands are common in India. Surrogate advertisements as trademark diversification and brandstreching are most rampant. Industry has been successful in product placement in movies and promoting tobacco through film stars. As part of the image building exercise, most tobacco companies are doing CSR activities. The industry effectively and discreetly is using social networking sites like "facebook" to promote its products.

Tobacco companies in India are carrying out aggressive advertising and promotion and sponsorship campaigns to glamorize its deadly product through indirect advertising and deceitful tactics. There is an urgent need to enforce legislation to contain all common types of TAPS violations in India.

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