Smokers will soon have to fight a tough battle against the Government's mind-game to help them get rid of the habit. It has now been made official that from May 1 onwards, warning messages `Tobacco Kills' or `Tobacco Causes Cancer' will stare you in the face at every point-of-sale of cigarettes and any other tobacco products.
And to get this message across loud and clear, the warning messages have to be in an Indian language and form part of the boards used for advertising at the points-of-sale or warehouse.
From May 1, advertisements of cigarettes and other tobacco products are permitted only at the point-of- sale or a warehouse.
The advertising (display) board put up at kiosks and other points-of-sale or warehouse should only have brand name or picture of the tobacco product displayed and cannot carry any other promotional message and picture.
In the rules framed under The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 2003, the Centre has also specified that the size of the board used for advertising at the point-of-sale should not exceed 90 cm x 60 cm and the number of such boards should not exceed two.
Besides the ban on ads and prohibition of sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to minors coming into effect from May 1, the tobacco industry is expected to come under the control of the Central Government from the same date.
While sales of cigarettes to persons below the age of 18 years will be prohibited from May 1, the ban on sale of such products within a demarcated area around an educational institution would not come into effect from the same date, according to sources.
The Tobacco Control legislation enacted in 2003 prohibits the sale of cigarettes or other tobacco products in an area within a radius of one hundred yards of any educational institution.
The legislation, however, provides that different dates can be "appointed" for different provisions of the Act.
"The provision relating to the ban on sale around the educational institutions does not form part of the initial set of provisions that are being brought into force from May 1," sources said.
Smoking in public places would be prohibited from May 1. The Centre has ruled that those in charge of such spaces would be required to display prominently a board containing the warning `No Smoking Area - Smoking here is an Offence'.
However, hotels with 30 rooms or restaurants having seating capacity of more than 30 and airports will enjoy a special dispensation.
Managers of these places would have to ensure that smoking and non-smoking areas are physically segregated.