Shops or kiosks selling cigarettes or tobacco products will have to display warnings such as “tobacco causes cancer” or “tobacco kills” prominently on their advertisement boards.
On Monday, the Supreme Court quashed an eight-year-old Bombay High Court order staying the implementation of Centre’s Point of Sale rules to regulate advertisement of tobacco products. The vendors would now have to display such ads on billboards of 60cm by 45cm size at their shops. A vendor would also be responsible for ensuring that no tobacco products are sold to anyone less than 18 years.
The issue of whether the rules are unconstitutional would, however, be decided by the HC, the top court said. The order came on an appeal filed by the NGO Health For Millions.
A bench of Justice GS Singhvi and Justice Gopal Gowda came down heavily on the Centre for not appealing against the HC order. It said the government was “conniving” with the tobacco lobby. As per a survey report by health and family welfare department, 85 lakh persons would die due to oral and lung cancer by 2015. Government statistics, presented before the court, revealed that 10 lakh persons died in India due to tobacco use. Surveys also disclose that 35% of adults, including 15 years and above, used tobacco in India.