‘Anti-tobacco advisory should not be removed’

Former Union Health Minister and PMK MP Anbumani Ramadoss on Tuesday opposed the recommendation of film director Shyam Benegal, who is heading a panel suggesting changes to Central Board for Film Certification, to remove the anti-tobacco advisory during movies.

He suspected the hand of the tobacco lobby and Bollywood film industry behind the move.

“With the size of image on tobacco products increased to 85 per cent, the tobacco lobby is trying to wield its influence through movies,” he said.

In a statement, he said that the Benegal committee’s recommendation that it would suffice to show the anti-tobacco advisory only once before the start of the film was not acceptable as 10 lakh Indians die owing to tobacco-related diseases.

Now it is mandatory to carry the advisory whenever a character is shown smoking in a film.

“A report from the World Health Organisation says that around 53 per cent of those who smoke caught the habit after getting inspired from movies and movie stars,” said Mr. Anbumani. “Actors such as Rajinikanth, Vijay, Suriya and Vikram have quit smoking on screen. The new proposal would reverse the trend,” he said.

He pointed out that Mr. Benegal was critical and opposed the decision to ban ‘smoking scenes’ and asked how he could head a committee.

“After we banned tobacco commercials in 2003, there was an increase in smoking scenes in movies,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2021 2:03:10 PM |

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