Maharashtra government bars seeking sponsorship from tobacco companies

Maharashtra government has directed all offices, departments and undertakings not to participate in events sponsored by cigarette companies and those producing tobacco related products or accept gifts, scholarships and prizes from such companies.

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The Government Resolution issued by the Public Health department on October 4. (Representative Image: IE)

Maharashtra government has directed all offices, departments and undertakings not to participate in events sponsored by cigarette companies and those producing tobacco related products or accept gifts, scholarships and prizes from such companies. The Government Resolution issued by the Public Health department on October 4. The GR cites section 5 and sub-section 5.3 of “The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisements and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COPTA), 2003” passed by the Centre which seeks to ban direct and indirect advertisement of cigarettes and tobacco related companies. It states that the said Act prohibits accepting sponsorship of events wherein advertisements of cigarettes and tobacco related products which seek to promote consumption of these products by sponsoring scholarships, prizes, gift articles or sponsoring any events. Speaking to reporters, under secretary Public Health department Sharad B Londhe said that the state has followed the Central government’s directive issued to all the state governments recently. “Many states like Himachal Pradesh and others have issued such directives to its departments and public undertakings,” he said.

When asked as to why the GR does not refer to sponsorship of events by liquor companies, he said that it was up to the Home and State Excise departments to issue similar such notifications.

The Centre passed the Act in 2003 after the World Health Organisation (WHO) in May 1986 urged member states to enact laws banning what is now known as Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS). A report appearing in the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR) in May 2013 stated that despite the enactment of TAPS, exposure to tobacco advertising and promotion is still prevalent in India.

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