Violating anti-smoking ordinance: some cigarette makers issued notices

Some cigarette manufacturers including a leading company have received notices from the Ministry of National Health, Services, Regulations and Co-ordination (MNHSRC) specifically with regards to violation of "The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Ordinance 2002".

It is learnt that various companies were advertising their brands through different means including advertisement boards on shops, free sampling and consumer incentive schemes, which are in clear violations of "The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Ordinance 2002". Taking serious notice of these violations, the government has issued show cause notices to certain cigarette manufacturers and directed the units concerned to stop all such cigarette promotion activities and submit written reply as to why legal action may not be initiated against the tobacco companies. Davidoff iD Orange

According to details, the Ministry of Health SRO 53(KE)/ 2009 and SRO 882(1)2007 issued under section 7 of the Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Ordinance 2002 stipulates that free goods, cash rebates, free samples, discounts, goods below the market value shall not be offered for the purpose of advertisement of tobacco or tobacco products to consumers along with banning of tobacco products advertisement boards on shops, covering area of more than one square foot. It is also mandatory to print health warning of not less than 1/5th of total advertisement board. But some companies are clearly violating these laws and are continuing doing promotional activities for their brands by displaying advertisement boards on shops and through consumer incentive schemes.

In order to curb the violations of the advertising regulations by the tobacco manufacturers, the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Co-ordination has approved new guidelines on December 31, 2013 which will be effective from May 31, 2014. According to these new guidelines tobacco or tobacco product advertisements in media, cinema, theaters, branding on garments, posters or banners fixed outside shops, kiosks, mobile trolleys, billboards, on store boards or fascia fixed outside shops, kiosks or mobile trolleys will not be allowed. According to the experts, the compliance of the new tobacco advertising rules and guidelines by the tobacco industry will be a challenge and the Ministry of NHSR&C will have to be ever vigilant to ensure compliance of the tobacco regulations in letter and spirit.

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