Tobacco Ban In India

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The government of India tabled a bill on February 6, 2001 which banned tobacco suppliers from advertising their products and also from sponsoring sports and cultural events. The objective of the ban was to launch an anti tobacco campaign and also discourage adolescents from consuming tobacco. However, the decision was met with approval and criticism.

Other countries had taken similar steps in the past to curtail the use of tobacco. In 1991, France had a ban on tobacco which was declared by the French Constitutional Council as a need to protect public health. Up to 1998, approximately 4 million people were killed by tobacco consumption according the World Health Organization (WHO), and these figures are expected to rise. Therefore, India
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Smokers in their numbers burden the health system and increase the expenditure of the country. It was also argued that the policies to be established to reduce tobacco consumption would create jobs through the reallocation of monies which would have been spent on tobacco. These monies would be spent on other products from more labor intensive companies. The aim of the ban in India was to discourage tobacco consumption. This has worked in other countries before. The Department of Health (UK) researched whether tobacco advertising affected the demand for tobacco products. The findings in Norway, Finland, Canada and New Zealand all proved that tobacco advertising influences people to consume tobacco products. Therefore, once the problem is nipped in the bud, at the advertising level, India would greatly benefit from the ban. It was also found that in 3 of these countries that were studied, smoking of tobacco was…show more content…
An argument of the opposing side was that adults who smoke do so by their own free will and with this ban the government was exercising that right for them. The CEO of Equus Advertising, Suhel Seth argued that the ban was just “a typical knee-jerk reaction by any government to create some kind of popularity for itself”. Another argument opposing the ban highlighted the economic gains from tobacco and the impact it would have on the country. The tobacco industry provides millions of people with jobs directly and indirectly and these people would be affected from such a ban. This belief was not supported though, as a study on tobacco consumption and employment revealed that the policies to be implemented for reducing tobacco consumption were more like to create more jobs. It was also debated that tobacco was legal to manufacture and likewise it should be legal to advertise that manufactured product. The companies argued that advertising merely differentiates brands to people who already smoke; not encourage people to start smoking. They insisted that the ban would be ineffective due to the fact that foreign manufacturers would still advertise in magazines and other medium. The argument on rising healthcare costs was counteracted also. Those who opposed the ban claimed that costs arising from smoking induced illnesses could be compensated in the old-age pension schemes due to premature
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