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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 13:12 GMT
India to ban tobacco advertising
Man smokes in Calcutta
India accounts for a third of tobacco-related deaths in the world
India has decided to ban the advertising and promotion of tobacco products in the country.

The government is to introduce a bill in parliament to enforce the order.

A large number of Indians smoke or chew tobacco.

Nearly a million people are said to die every year in the country due to diseases caused by tobacco consumption.

Crack down

Officials say advertising attracts young people and encourages them to consume tobacco products.

This, they say, leads to tobacco addiction.

The government said the new rules would ban tobacco advertisements on television, radio and the print media.

Health Minister Sushma Swaraj said the ban would come in to force shortly after it is passed by parliament.

The ban may also apply to surrogate advertising.

Many tobacco companies are accused of using indirect advertising to promote their products.

With this ban, India will be the seventh country to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which was adopted unanimously by the World Health Assembly four years ago.

India has already banned tobacco companies from sponsoring sporting events.

Officials say they are planning to impose new taxes on tobacco products to discourage consumption.

Little effect?

But many experts are sceptical of the new rules.

They say there have been laws before to control tobacco consumption but not much had been done to enforce them.

Some experts point to a ban on smoking in public places, now in force in many cities including the capital Delhi.

Hardly anyone has ever been penalised for violating it, they argue.

India accounts for nearly a third of all tobacco-related deaths in the world.

Experts say the cost of treating such diseases is far higher than the revenue generated by the tobacco industry.

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