Cable operators beaming channels that feature events sponsored by overseas cigarette companies can be penalised for violating the advertising and sponsorship code contained in the proposed Tobacco Bill 2000.
It’s been pointed out that cigarette giants like Marlboro sponsor Formula 1 auto racing events that are regularly shown in ESPN and Star Sports. Besides auto racing, golf is another sport supported and sponsored by cigarette companies and telecast in channels like CNBC. This could get cable operators into trouble with the law over showing tabacco advertisements.
Legal experts are of the opinion that the Bill proposing to ban advertisements and sponsorships by Indian cigarette companies would not be in a position to control campaigns run by global brands through media that has a very high viewership / readership in India.
Indian cigarette companies are already fighting a grim battle to ward off competition from smuggled brands. Industry observers claim that smuggled brands have already captured nearly 10 per cent of the premium brand segment.