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Philip Morris Told To Remove All Its Ads By India's Delhi Government

Philip Morris Told To Remove All Its Ads By India's Delhi Government
Warning Philip Morris International Inc and other tobacco companies of legal action if they do not comply, the state government in India's capital told the companies to remove all advertisements from tobacco shops in the city.
Distributing free cigarette samples and advertising promotional messages at tobacco shops were being conducted by Philip Morris while promoting Marlboro cigarettes even days ago and the order was sent by Delhi state's chief tobacco control officer S. K. Arora. The promotional tactics used by the company violated the law, government officials say.
This promotional strategy, cover the period from 2009 to 2016, has been reportedly laid out in hundreds of pages of internal Philip Morris documents, reported the media.
Under the country's Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act and its accompanying rules, tobacco advertising using brand names or promotional slogans is illegal, Indian officials have previously said. But they comply with regulations and that the law allows advertising inside a kiosk, sat Philip Morris and India's leading cigarette maker ITC Ltd.
All brand advertisements, irrespective of where they were placed, were not allowed in the country, Arora said the federal health ministry had told him.
There were no immediate comments form Philip Morris and ITC.
 Despite of the fact that there have been repeated warnings from the Delhi state government in recent years, there has not been any let up from tobacco companies and they have continued to advertise at sale points. If media reports son the issue are to be believed, in order to encourage retailers to display the company's colorful advertisements, Philip Morris has been reportedly paying a monthly fee to some tobacco vendors.
Arora also told the media that in order to check on distribution of free cigarettes at social events, he "will investigate and conduct raids" himself. "If violations are found, action as per law will be taken," Arora said.
While government officials say companies get away with violations because law enforcement is weak despite of the fact that India enacted its national tobacco control law in 2003 and has since added rules to strengthen it.
Following media investigations and publishing of investigative news articles in the media into the display and advertisement of tobacco, an explanation from Philip Morris and other tobacco companies about their marketing practices is being planned to be sought by the federal health ministry, it said on Friday.
There were no comments available from the two tobacco companies in question - Philip Morris and ITC.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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