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National Consultation on Implementation of the Tobacco-Free ‘Film Rules’ in Theatres and Television programmes.

 

Anti tobacco messages in movie theatres prove effective : stronger implementation of policy required


Mumbai: February 10,2017

 

The size and popularity of India’s film industry has the power to influence the behavior and attitude of millions of people. The ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed the findings of a study to evaluate the implementation of the ‘film rule’, under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act. The study finds that anti-tobacco messages are effective in countering the imagery of tobacco and prompting decision to quit. During the study period 22% of TV programs were found to depict tobacco. Worryingly 71% of these programs were broadcast when children and adolescents may have been watching. Implementation of ‘film rule’ was found to be very low.

While delivering his address Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, C.K. Mishra said, “tobacco use is detrimental to all aspects of life and grips the users in the most productive years. We must reverse this tide. An effective way of tobacco control would be to ingrain and indoctrinate the young minds, the children and the youth. If they could be weaned away from tobacco use, we believe that the battle is half won, since the children and youth of today will be the policy and law makers of tomorrow”.

Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Ajay Mittal, in his special address said that tobacco sellers should warn the customers about the ill effects of tobacco.

According to Dr. Henk Bekedam WHO representative to India, “the film fraternity has played an extremely positive and vital role in implementing the tobacco free film and television policy. India has pioneered this policy and it would not have been possible without the support of the film and television industry. Our actors are role models who can and do impact behavior, specially of the youth. I would request them to join this movement against tobacco & help save precious lives”.

Mr. Pahlaj Nihalani, Chairperson of CBFC suggested that after the national anthem anti-smoking films should be shown in film theatres.

Dr. Nandita Murukutia, Country Director Vital Strategies concluded, “The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars to mislead consumers by depicting tobacco use as glamorous or popular. When tobacco is depicted in films and TV Programs its doing the tobacco industry’s work for them.Tobacco kills one million Indians every year and costs our economy 22.4 billion dollars. Our objective of this study is to understand the importance of ‘film rule’ and the current gap in implementation. We urge the TV and film industry to recognize its responsibilities and work towards a tobacco free culture”.

About the film rule and the report

The rule was implemented on October 2, 2012 and mandates that three forms of warning messages ( Anti-tobacco health spots, audio visual disclaimers and static health warning messages) are broadcast when tobacco products, branding or use are shown in films & television programs . Researchers observed and coded over 413 hours of randomly selected TV programming across 45 channels and interviewed 3080 people to inform the finding in this report. One of the main recommendations of this report was to organize a consultation with national stake holders to agree to a way forward to strengthen the implementation of the Film Rule particularly on television programs and to identify the most effective administrative channels to ensure the smooth and streamlined implementation of all the key elements of the film rule. As a sign of the stakeholders commitment to this policy recommendation, the consultation was held today in Mumbai organized by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with WHO India and Vital Strategies in partnership with Salaam Bombay Foundation.


Tobacco use in India- A growing health and economic problem.

As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey – India (GATS) by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare 35% of the adults in the age group of 15 years and above consume tobacco in some form or the other. Nearly 2 in 5 adults in rural areas and one in 4 adults in urban areas use tobacco in some form. Smokeless is the most used form of tobacco use in India with lower social economic groups and women in particular preferring smokeless tobacco over smoking forms. GATS found that more than 20 crore Indians use smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco includes gutkha, zarda, pan masala, paan with tobacco and khaini.



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