National Centre for Human Settlements and Environment, Bhopal along with Consumer VOICE, New Delhi organised stakeholders workshops to disseminate the “Big Tobacco-Tiny Targets” survey report. The workshops were held in 5 cities in Madhya Pradesh - Bhopal, Indore, Sagar, Jabalpur and Gwalior where the survey was conducted. The workshops were held in the month of March and April 2019. The report reveals how tobacco companies are systematically targeting children as young as eight years old in the state of Assam by selling tobacco products and placing tobacco advertisements near schools premises.
- To gather additional evidence regarding tobacco products being sold around educational institutions
- To assess COTPA compliance near educational institutions
- To expose Tobacco Industry tactics which target children
Key finding of Madhya Pradesh
- Nearly half of the vendors around schools sell tobacco products. (Investigators observed 38 points of sale selling tobacco products out of the 72 surveyed around 53 schools in 5 cities of Madhya Pradesh. Street and mobile vendors were the most common form of vendors at 73% of the 38 tobacco points of sale observed.)
- Multinational tobacco companies sell tobacco products around schools. (Investigators documented that, of the 72 tobacco points of sale observed, majorly 88% carried ITC brands and 40% carried Phillip Morris.
- Vendors advertise tobacco products around schools. (Investigators observed 72 tobacco advertisements at tobacco points of sale near schools.)
- All tobacco vendors sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth. (Investigators observed single stick sales in 100% of the 38 tobacco points of sale).
- Vendors display tobacco products in ways that are appealing to children and youth. (Investigators documented that, of the 38 tobacco points of sale observed, 88% of displays were at 1 meter – a child's eye level; 98 % of the points of sale had no visible health warning; and 92% of displays were beside candy, sweets and toys – items marketed to children.)
Dr Shailendra Patni of Gandhi Medical College and Mrs Archana Sahay, Chief Executive of Child line, Dr. Sanjay Chatani, Dental Surgeon & District Nodal Officer, Tobacco Control Programme, Jabalpur , Shri P.S.Rahul of Environmental conservation and Tribal Development Centre and Mrs. Lata Atulkar, Janpad Siksha Kendra, Jabalpur shared their experiences of how they have got rid of the habit of tobacco use. More than 300 persons including the school students, teachers of educational institutions, representatives NGOs, participated in the workshops. Experts shared their views on the harmful effects of tobacco usage and also highlighted that initiation to tobacco addition in children starts in three ways. First on seeing their parents using tobacco at home, second through friendship and third due to easy access.
The workshops received mass media coverage including print, online and electronic (Doordarshan, MP)
The recommendations of the study are:
- Urgent action required from the Government agencies to stop tobacco companies from targeting children from aggressive advertising & selling tobacco products around schools.
- Stricter enforcement of COTPA rules prohibiting the selling and advertising of tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutions.
- Regulating tobacco vendors to aid COTPA enforcement. COTPA compliance should be a condition of all vendor licenses.
Click here for the Media Coverage of Big Tobacco Tiny Targets