GUWAHATI, Jan 11 � Display of hoardings promoting tobacco products in Assam continues to be on a high across the State including Guwahati, with minimum efforts coming from the authorities concerned to remove the illegal hoardings put up in violation of the national anti-tobacco act- COTPA (Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act, 2003).
Section 5 of the COTPA prohibits any advertisement which directly or indirectly suggests or promotes use or consumption of cigarettes or any other tobacco products.
Official sources state that despite repeated interventions made by the authorities concerned, the anti-tobacco products campaign has failed to yield desired results.
Violation of Section 5 of COTPA is rampant in the city despite much awareness on its proper enforcement carried out among law enforcers by the State Health Department.
As per the amendment rule of Section 5 of COTPA, tobacco products can be advertised in the package containing tobacco products, on the entrance and inside a warehouse storing tobacco products and at the point of sale (tobacco product selling shop) or distribution only.
But presence of hoardings advertising tobacco products, larger than prescribed (60cm x 45 cm) at the point of sale and more than two boards at one point of sale are regarded as violation of the Section.
Illuminated or backlit boards at the point of sale, open display of tobacco products by a shop owner for sale, indirect/surrogate advertisement of tobacco production in any form such as in apparel, sports gear, accessories and others are also not allowed. Infringement of Section 5 is going on in almost all the localities of Guwahati with the tobacco companies pushing that extra hard to promote their brands.
Tobacco companies have also compelled most of the pan shop owners to display the cigarette products openly by signing a deal where they (the companies) will renovate the shops with preconditions of proper display of the cigarette brands.
In Guwahati city many cigarette companies are renovating the pan shops by fixing hoardings larger than (60 cm x 45 cm) size displaying their brand names without exhibiting the pictorial warnings. Like Guwahati, the cigarette companies are following the same method throughout the State.