By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, January 21: The Special Superintendent of Police, Assam has asked the regiol magers of two tobacco majors of the country to remove their illegal tobacco–related advertisements, if any in Assam, within a fortnight so as to avoid legal action against them.
The SSP said this to two regiol magers of M/S VST Industries and M/S ITC drawing their attention to the Section–5 of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act, (COTPA) 2003 that deals in prohibition of advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products. The SSP also reminded the two companies that violation of the above section would entail them pelty of Rs 1,000 or two–month jail each for first time violation and Rs 5,000 and five–year jail for subsequent violation.
Display of advertising hoardings promoting tobacco products is rampant in Guwahati, which is a clear violation of the relevant section of the COTPA.
As per the amendment rule of the section 5 of the COTPA, tobacco products can be advertised in the package containing tobacco products, on the entrance and inside a warehouse storing tobacco products and at the point of sale (tobacco product selling shop) or distribution only.
But presence of hoardings advertising tobacco products, larger than prescribed (60cm x 45 cm) at the point of sale and more than two boards at one point of sale are regarded as violation of section 5 of the Act.
Illumited or backlit boards at the point of sale, open display of tobacco products by a shop owner for sale, indirect/surrogate advertisement of tobacco production in any form such as in apparel, sports gear, accessories and others are also not allowed.
The cigarette companies have also compelled most of the pan shops owners to display the cigarette products openly by signing a deal where they (the companies) will renovate the shops with preconditions of proper display of the cigarette brands.
In Guwahati, many cigarette companies are renovating the pan shops by fixing hoardings larger than (60 cm x 45 cm) size displaying their brand mes without exhibiting the pictorial warnings.