The Health Ministry has issued a show cause notice to ITC Ltd asking the company why action should not be taken against it for violating the Tobacco Control legislation that bars all forms of direct and indirect advertising of tobacco and tobacco-related products.
According to a Government release, ITC had launched a range of greeting cards under the brand name Gold Flake Expressions, which has the same logo, design and colour as the popular cigarette brand, Gold Flake. "As all the greeting cards have the logo printed both on the cards as well as on their covers, it amounts to indirect advertisement of the cigarette brand, which is a violation of the above mentioned Act. Further, they have been requested to withdraw the said range of greeting cards with the logo printed on it from the market," it said.
Section 5 of The Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, which came into effect from May 1, 2004, prohibits direct and indirect advertisements of cigarettes and other tobacco products in both print and electronic media. It clearly states that no person shall take part in any advertisement, which directly or indirectly suggests or promotes the use or consumption of cigarettes or any other tobacco products.
In a related case, the Health Ministry has written to the Maharashtra Government to indicate the action taken against Stardust magazine for violation under Section 22 of the Act. This provides for punishment for advertising cigarette and tobacco products.
The official statement said that the film magazine in its annual issue for 2004 carried an advertisement of Marlboro, which is a multinational cigarette brand.
The Ministry has also issued a show cause notice of three weeks to the Managing Editor, Stardust, as to why action should not be initiated against the magazine "for violating the provisions of Section 5 of the Act under Section 22 of the said Act," said the Government release.