Nearly 3,000 promotional boards have been removed in city
After removing boards advertising tobacco products at various shops in the city, the Department of Public Health will soon extend its drive to the suburbs and municipalities around the city.
In a special drive, the boards have been removed from points of sale of tobacco products for violating the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003.
The Department, along with the Chennai Corporation and the city police, launched the drive during February-end and has so far, removed 3,000 boards from points of sale such as petty shops in the Corporation limits, P. Vadivelan, joint director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and State tobacco control officer said.
“We removed the boards containing pictures of tobacco products or promoting tobacco use from points of sale in the city. We will take up the second round of checks soon and are planning to extend the drive to the city’s suburbs and municipalities around the city. It will be extended to the entire State,” he said.
Section 5 of the Act prohibits direct or indirect advertising of cigarettes and tobacco products, Prasanna Kannan, World Health Organisation State consultant, Tobacco Control, pointed out. “At the point of sale of tobacco products, boards with messages promoting tobacco usage are banned. Earlier, there was a court stay on the implementation of this rule and in January, the Supreme Court vacated the stay,” she said.
Following this, the department launched the check on all promotional boards in the city. Boards measuring 60 cm x 45 cm could be kept at points of sale.
However, the Act outlines certain specifications. “On the top of the board, a warning message, such as ‘Tobacco Kills’, ‘Smoking Kills’ or ‘Tobacco causes cancer’, should be carried in 20 cm x 15 cm. There should be no brand or logo of the tobacco manufacturer on the board. The board should have a white background and the text should be in black. There should be no pictorial representation,” Ms. Kannan said.