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Govt. to ban smoking on screen

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    Wednesday, May 31, 2006

    New Delhi (UNI): Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said that both the ministries would notify the Apex Court, where the matter of banning smoking scenes on movies and onscreen is pending, that a consensus has been reached on a ban on movies and television channels depicting scenes of smoking and use of other tobacco products. This would go a long way in reducing the use of tobacco, which kills about one million people annually in the country, he said.

    As per the consensus arrived a Committee would be formed which would screen every movie and television programme to ensure that they do not have smoking scenes. If the Committee finds that the smoking scene is necessary from the ''artistic point of view,'' then the film would have an advisory against smoking before the screening, in between and after the movie, he said. The actor, performing the smoking scene would also need to state that smoking its injurious for health. For old movies having smoking scenes the advisory against smoking would be made mandatory. He informed and hoped that all these steps would greatly reduce depiction of smoking in movies and on television.

    As the written warning on Cigarrette boxes has been found to be insufficient in deterring people from smoking, the government would bring a notification in August this year making it mandatory that about 50 per cent of the advertisement space on cigarrette packets and other products should have pictorial warning depicting how smoking casuses cancer of mouth and other organs and their harmful effect on pregnant mother and unborn child. He said that after notification, tobacco industry would be given six months time so that they could ensure its implementing. The health ministry would also give awards to those individuals and organisations who are doing anti-tobacco work. Lamenting the low enforcement of the anti-tobacco legislation in the country, he said that wider participation of people especially consumer groups and NGOs was required for its enforcement.

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