Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets Study 2020

Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets Study 2020

Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets Study 2020

On 12th January, on the occasion of Swami Vivekanada’s birth anniversary, which is also celebrated as National Youth Day, the report of Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets Study 2020 was released online. The study was conducted across 1011 educational institutions and 885 points of sale were investigated. A mobile app in 25 cities across 10 states of India was used by Consumer Voice and  Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) for the study. The report was inaugurated amidst the august presence of Shri KTS Tulsi, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Dr. Kirit Premjibhai Solanki, Member of Parliament, Bhavna B Mukhopadhyay, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Association of India and Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, CONSUMER VOICE. The event also witnessed the participation of civil society members from Consumer VOICE, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), and other civil society organisations, public health experts, parents, school children ,educationists, and media

The report is an eye opener of sorts. It reveals that tobacco companies are systematically targeting youth as young as eight years old in India, by selling and advertising tobacco products near educational institutions. Over 72% point of sale around educational institutions in 25 cities were found to be displaying cigarettes, bidis and smokeless tobacco products near candies and sweets at the eye level of children. These were selling single stick cigarettes and offering free/ discounted tobacco products to school children.

KEY FINDINGS OF THE STUDY:

  • Selling of tobacco around Educational Institutions– A total of 885 point of sale were identified to be selling tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutions. This is a violation of section 6(b) of COTPA.
  • Display of tobacco products to attract children and youth– Out of the 885 points of sale investigated, 640 (72.32%) points of sale displayed cigarettes near candies and sweets to attract children, 669 (75.59%) points of sale had displayed tobacco products at the eye level of the child.
  • Advertisement of tobacco products– 117(13.2%) points of sale had outdoor advertising, 369 (41.69%) points of sale had posters and 107 (12.09%) had big banners.  This advertising violates Section 5(2) of COTPA and Notification G.S.R. 345(E) which established strict rules for any display boards used at the entrances of shops where tobacco is sold.
  • Price Discounts/ free product distribution of tobacco products- Out of 885 points of sale investigated, 111 (12.54%) offered free distribution of tobacco products for their promotion; 106 (11.98%) points of sale offered special or limited-edition pack and 105 (11.86%) offered price discount on tobacco products.
  • Cigarettes most commonly available-Out of 885 point of sale investigated, 840 (94.92%) sold cigarettes; 598 (67.57%) sold bidis; smokeless tobacco products were available at 520 (58.76%); 201 (22.71%) sold flavored tobacco products; Out of the 885 point of sale 678 (76.61%) points of sale had ITC brands like Classic, Gold Flake, Wills Navy Cut, Flake, and Bristol.
  • Selling of single stick cigarettes- Out of the 885 points of sale, 771 (87.12%) points of sale, sold single stick cigarettes.
  • Graphic health warnings hidden– Out of the 885 point of sale investigated, 553 (62.49%) displayed tobacco products, hiding the graphic health warnings on them, and thereby neutralizing their effectiveness.

Big Tobacco Tiny Targets factsheet

Big Tobacco Tiny Targets Report

The result of this study only strengthens our resolve to implement COTPA more stringently.  As Ashim  Sanyal points out“Tobacco companies have been exploiting loopholes in the law by selling and advertising their products around educational institutions and endangering the lives of our young generation, we therefore urge the Government to strengthen COTPA 2003 to protect our children & youth from falling prey to the tactics of tobacco companies.”  This will help in ending tobacco marketing to children and youth who are the future of any nation. This was also asserted by Dr. Kirit Premjibhai Solanki, Member of Parliament that “5500 children begin tobacco use daily in India and consequently may become addicted. It’s critical to make sure we strengthen our laws and penalty provisions to deter tobacco companies from selling and advertising of their addictive products to our children and youth.”

Dismay at the fact the children as young as 10 and 12 years are being targeted by tobacco companies, Shri KTS Tulsi, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha said that, “It’s critical to improve our existing laws and have stronger penalty provisions to protect our children and youth from menace of tobacco for healthy India”.

Dr. Pulkesh Kumar, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India who also graced the occasion emphasized the need to protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco and implementation of COTPA in a more stringent manner.

Tobacco

“Our educational institutions are not safe so long as the tobacco industry continues to lure our children and youth into buying their deadly products” as rightly pointed out by Bhavna B Mukhopadhyay, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Association of India.

It’s time that we wake up to this serious threat and save our children from the harmful effects of tobacco consumption.

Click here for media coverages

India and WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

India and WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

India and WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO. It was adopted by the World Health Assembly on 21 May 2003 and entered into force on 27 February 2005. It has since become one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in United Nations history.

The WHO FCTC was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic and is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The Convention represents a milestone for the promotion of public health and provides new legal dimensions for international health cooperation. s. There are currently 180 Parties to the Convention including India.

It cites their determination “to give priority to their right to protect public health” and the “concern of the international community about the devastating worldwide health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke”. It then notes the scientific evidence for the harm caused by tobacco, the threat posed by advertising and promotion, and illicit trade, and the need for cooperative action to tackle these problems. Other paragraphs of the preamble note the role of civil society, and the human rights that the Convention aims to support.

India’s stand in implementing the WHO FCTC

Govt. of India ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2004, the first ever international public health treaty focusing on the global public health issue of tobacco control. WHO-FCTC provides for various measures to reduce the demand as well as supply of tobacco. India played a leading role in FCTC negotiations to finalize its provisions and was the regional coordinator for the South- East Asian countries. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India organized the Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) under the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) from 7th—12th November 2016

The key demand reduction strategies are contained in Articles 6 to 14 which includes;
  1. Article: 6 – Price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco.
  2. Article: 7 – Non-price measures to reduce the demand for tobacco
  3. Article: 8 – Protection from exposure to second hand tobacco smoke.
  4. Article: 9 & 10 – Tobacco content and product regulation
  5. Article: 11 – Packaging and labeling of tobacco products.
  6. Article: 12 – Education, communication, training and public awareness.
  7. Article: 13 – Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  8. Article: 14 – Demand reduction measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation
The key supply reduction strategies are contained in Articles 15 to 17 which includes;
  1. Article: 15 – Illicit trade in tobacco products.
  2. Article: 16 – Sales to and by minors;
  3. Article: 17 – Provision of support for economically viable alternative activities.

As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey-India (GATS2) India is home to over 27 crore tobacco users and globally it is the second largest producer and consumer of tobacco products. Available estimates in India show that smoking-attributable annual deaths were about 930,000, while the smokeless tobacco (SLT) attributable annual deaths were about 350,000, together accounting for about 1,280,000 deaths per year or approximately 3500 deaths every day.

In addition to the death and diseases it causes, tobacco also impacts the economic development of the country, and as per studies conducted by this Ministry, the total economic costs attributable to tobacco use from all diseases and deaths in the year 2011 was INR 104,500 crores, which is huge burden for a developing country like Indian to bear. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for the four main Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) — cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes, which puts people with these conditions at higher risk for developing severe illness when affected by COVID-19. NCDs are estimated to account for 63% of all deaths in India and these are expected to rise.

India and WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

World No Tobacco Day 2020 – Towards a tobacco free generation

World No Tobacco Day 2020 – Towards a tobacco free generation

Tobacco products kill more than 8 million people every year which effectively means the future generation. With each passing day, tobacco and related industry is becoming smarter by the day. To target adolescents, the tobacco industry is coming up with several tricks and tactics. Some of these are:

  • Sponsored events and parties
  • Product placement in entertainment media
  • Free product samples
  • Selling products at eye level for children
  • Product placement and advertising near schools
  • Over 15,000 flavours, most of which attract children and adolescents

But in this World No Tobacco Day, WHO is planning to debunk myths and expose devious tactics employed by these industries by launching counter-marketing campaign. This year the theme of World No Tobacco Day 2020 campaign is “protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use”, that aims to sensitize and make the youth aware about the harmful effects of tobacco use and expose the tactics employed by the industry to attract the youth. Through this campaign, WHO encourages everyone to gain knowledge, spread awareness and create a ‘tobacco-free generation’.

Vendor Licensing in India

Tobacco consumption among the younger generation has its own set of problems. As per WHO, nearly 37% children in India initiate smoking before the age of 10 and 14.6% of 13-15 year old students in India use tobacco. If one goes deeper to understand the reason for increased smoking among children, it is easy availability of tobacco and tobacco products like cigarettes and bidis.

One of the effective measures of stopping school children and minors from falling prey to tobacco smoking is implementation of vendor licensing through Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulations of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA). COTPA, specifically prohibits smoking in all public places, prohibition of direct and indirect advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of cigarettes and other tobacco products, prohibition of sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors and within 100 yards of any educational institution, and display of health warning, including pictorial warning on ill effects of tobacco use on the packages of all tobacco products.

The states and cities in India which have issued vendor licensing orders using the power under their respective Municipal laws and regulations include Himachal Pradesh, Patna (Bihar), Howrah (West Bengal) Rajasthan and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), Ranchi (Jharkhand ) and recently Madhya Pradesh, and Assam

Big Tobacco Tiny Targets

Consumer VOICE and Voluntary Health Association of India conducted a Big Tobacco Tiny Targets study to determine the extent of tobacco products being marketed and sold around schools in India. A total sample of 243 schools and 487 points of sale were closely surveyed during this study in these 20 cities. The objective of this survey was to ascertain whether the ban on selling tobacco products near educational institutions as per the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) is being enforced in cities across the country or not.

Also Read: Cigarette and tobacco shops can no longer sell chips and candies

As per Mr.Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, Consumer VOICE “Vendors sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth. Selling of such products outside of educational institutes attracts the youth to get addicted. This move will surely curtail the tobacco consumption, he added.

National Youth Day 2020 -Tobacco Intervention

National Youth Day 2020 -Tobacco Intervention

Every year National Youth Day is celebrated across India on 12th January to celebrate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, to spread his ideas among the youth in our country. To remember his values and ideals, Consumer VOICE along with its state partners circulated a press note urging the government to implement the rules for Vendor Licensing to protect the youth from using tobacco products.Other than the harmful effects of tobacco, its use imposes enormous health and economic burden on the country.  Each year, over 1 million Indians die from tobacco-related diseases in India. Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 (GATS 2) shows 28.6% adults consuming tobacco in some form or the other. Vendor licensing is authorizing a business to engage in tangible retail sales of tobacco from a shop, sidewalk stand, a pushcart, a shop, a motor vehicle which needs to be implemented to keep the younger generation from the influence of tobacco products. These will registered with municipalities and adhere to (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act) COTPA Regulations.

In Goa Vendor Licensing has been adopted by the government, yet its implementation is left. National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) and Consumer VOICE urged the government not to delay any further and implement it as soon as possible.

As per Mr. Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, Consumer VOICE “Vendors sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth. Selling of such products outside of educational institutes attracts the youth to get addicted. This move will surely curtail the tobacco consumption, he added.

In Gujarat, the government, Consumer VOICE along with Saher Jilla Grahak Suraksha Mandal, Rajkot urged the state government to adopt and implement vendor licensing across Gujarat so that the youth could be protected against the ill effects of tobacco. In Madhya Pradesh too National Centre for Human Settlements & Environment and Consumer VOICE has urged the government to implement Vendor Licensing in the state. Similarly in Tamil Nadu Consumers Association of India, Tamil Nadu is playing an active role in protecting the youth against the harmful effects of tobacco by asking the government ti quickly adopt Vendor Licensing and implement the same in the state.

Regional media of both the states provided good coverage and supported this important cause.

For media coverage, please click here

 

E Cigarettes Act 2019 Explained

E Cigarettes Act 2019 Explained

E Cigarettes Act 2019 Explained

The Parliament of India passed the “ Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement) Bill, 2019” by voice vote and with long discussion in both the houses (Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha).Earlier it was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan. It replaced an Ordinance promulgated in September 2019 by the Ministry of Finance. The Bill seeks to prohibit the production, trade, storage, and advertisement of electronic cigarettes.

  • The Bill defines electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) as electronic devices that heat a substance, which may contain nicotine and other chemicals, to create vapour for inhalation. These e-cigarettes can also contain different flavours and include all forms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, heat-not-burn products, e-hookahs, and other similar devices.
  • The Bill prohibits the production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes in India. Any person who contravenes this provision will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both. For any subsequent offence, the person will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to three years, along with a fine of up to five lakh rupees.
  • Under the Bill, no person is allowed to use any place for the storage of any stock of e-cigarettes. If any person stores any stock of e-cigarettes, he will be punishable with an imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs 50,000 or both.
  • If an authorised officer believes that any provision of the Bill has been contravened, the officer can search any place where trade, production, storage or advertising of E-Cigarettes is being undertaken.

Consumer VOICE appreciated and welcomed the move of Government of India to ban E-Cigarettes in India through the passage of most awaited bill. The organisation thanked the Health Ministry, for taking strong step towards for banning of e-cigarettes (ENDS) to curb these new forms of tobacco addiction in larger national interest. Consumer VOICE is also hoping that the ministry will further ensure the implementation by the concerned authorities.

Also read: What are e-cigarettes and hazards of e-cigarettes

Click here for the detailed act.

State Level Consultation for Sensitization of Stakeholders to Mandate the Strict Implementation of Vendor Licensing in Goa

State Level Consultation for Sensitization of Stakeholders to Mandate the Strict Implementation of Vendor Licensing in Goa

State Level Consultation for Sensitization of Stakeholders to Mandate the Strict Implementation of Vendor Licensing in Goa

Consumer VOICE in collaboration with National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) Goa organised a stakeholders’ consultation at Conference Hall, Manipal Hospitals, Goa on November 1, 2019. The main objective of the event was to discuss the implementation of the Government of Goa’s policy on mandating licensing for vendors selling tobacco.In the welcome address, the President of NOTE Dr.Shekhar Salkar, gave an overview of the tobacco control measures implemented in the state of Goa. He thanked the Goa Government for issuing the order on vendor licensing. He also called ULBs (Urban Local Bodies) to implement it in letter and spirit for saving lives of future generations.

Further, Shri Amarjeet Singh, Advisor Legal, Consumer VOICE, gave a presentation on tobacco vendor licensing and told “Our recent study pointed that the density of tobacco vendors is too high even in residential areas as we found 198 tobacco point of sale in 2 areas of Goa. We observed several violation of COTPA at PoS (Point of Sale).” The Vendor licensing order issued by Department of Urban Development can be very effective in tobacco control.

Shri Uday Madkaikar Mayor-City Corporation Panaji said, we will take all necessary action for the effective implementation of Vendor Licensing. Shri Sanjit Rodrigues-Commissioner of Corporation of the City of Panaji, stated “I will personally initiate a meeting with all stake holders to ensure that vendor licensing is being strictly adhered to in strategic areas like schools etc.” Dr. Jose De Sa-Directorate of Health Services [DHS] Govt of Goa, another chief guest of the event said that the public health department is working out a strategy to control and prevent tobacco-related deaths by adopting service, educational and regulation approach.

The other key speakers of the event were Shri Pramod Acharya , Anchor-Prudent TV Shri Sanyof Kudlakar, Senior Food Safety Officer FDA.

The programme  was also attended by more than 50 health experts, doctors from Directorate of Health Services[ DHS] Govt of Goa,  Food and Drugs Inspectors from Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration, Police Inspectors and Sub Inspectors from Goa Police department, tobacco control activists, print and electronic media, civil society activists etc.

Click here for the Media Coverage