How Compliant are Tobacco Vendors to India’s Tobacco Control Legislation on Ban of Advertisments at Point of Sale? A Three Jurisdictions Review


Background: Section 5 of India’s tobacco control legislation “Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act(COTPA), 2003”comprehensively prohibits all kinds of tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship(TAPS), but permits advertisments at the point-of-sale (POS) under certain conditions. This provision hasbeen exploited by the tobacco companies to promote their products.
Objective: To measure compliance withthe provisions of Section 5 of Indian tobacco control legislation (COTPA, 2003) at point of sale. Materials and
Methods: A cross-sectional survey using an observation checklist was conducted in 1860 POS across threejurisdictions (Chennai city, District Vadodara and District Mohali) in India.
Results: The most common modeof advertisement of tobacco products was product showcasing (51.1%), followed by dangles (49.6%), stickers(33.8%) and boards (27.1%). More than one fourth of POS were found violating legal provisions for displayingadvertisement boards in one or other forms (oversized, extended to full body lenth of POS, displayed brandname/packshot and promotional messages). Advertisement boards (16.3%) without health warnings were also foundand wherever found, more than 90% health warning were not as per the specification in respect to size, font andbackground color.
Conclusions: Point of sale advertising is aggressively used by the tobacco industry to promotetheir products. There is an urgent need of effective implementation of a comprehensive ban on tobacco productadvertisement, promotion and sponsorship at point of sale.