Old movies and television programmes showing smoking scenes will now have to display anti-tobacco messages mandatorily and all such programmes will have to be aired at the time of the least viewership of children. The new rule will come into effect from November 14.
The anti-tobacco health spots or messages will have to be run for at least 30 seconds at the beginning and middle of the film of television programme showing smoking scene or any tobacco product. The warning will have to be run prominently as a scroll at the bottom of the screen during the period of such display.
On Friday, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry issued the notification under the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) (second amendment rules), 2011, after wide consultations and taking into account the views of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and other stakeholders.
As for new films and television programmes, a strong editorial justification for display of tobacco products or their use will have to be given to the Central Board of Film certification (CBFC), along with UA certification. It will have to be accompanied by a disclaimer, of a minimum of 20 seconds, by the actor concerned regarding the ill-effects of the use of such products in the beginning and middle of the film of television programme, health spot and a health warning as a prominent scroll at the bottom of the screen during the period of such display.
Masking and blurring
In order to restrict the ‘blatant' display of tobacco brands in old films and television programmes, these rules make it mandatory to crop or mask the display of brands of cigarettes or any other tobacco product or any form of product placement and close-ups, and for new films and programmes such scenes will have to be edited or blurred by the producer before screening.
The ban on the display of tobacco product or its use also extends to promotional materials and posters.
There are experimental and observational studies to show that tobacco use in films influences young people's beliefs about social norms for smoking, as well as their beliefs about the function and consequences of smoking and their personal intention to use tobacco.