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Big Tobacco-Tiny Targets study survey study dissemination – Tamil Nadu

Consumer VOICE, Delhi in collaboration with Consumer’s Association of India, Chennai organized Stakeholders’ dissemination workshop on ‘’Big Tobacco-Tiny Targets’’ study in Chennai on 26th March 2019. This report reveals how tobacco companies are systematically targeting children as young as eight years old in Tamil Nadu by selling tobacco products and placing tobacco advertisements near school premises.

Objectives

  • 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 Tamil Nadu

  • Out of target schools sample of 34. 68 observations were recorded where we found 34 violations
  • Majority were found to be street vendors, unlike other state where mobile vendors were prominent
  • Mandatory warning display board was found only at only 4 out of 34 points of sale.
  • Sale of loose cigarettes is rampant 88% which frustrate purpose of pictorial warning at package.
  • 88% tobacco vendors were also found selling candy, chips etc. the products meant for and to attract children/youth to tobacco shops
  • Tobacco products are displayed openly amounting to advertisements tobacco advertisements were found at several point sale
  • Almost all cigarette brands found during the survey were from ITC

Mrs. M P Nirmala, IAS (Rtd), Chairperson, Tamil Nadu Child Rights Commission, shared her experience related to tobacco consumption among children. She said it is everyone’s responsibility to take a step forward to save lives of children of our country. Chitra Prasad, representative of the NSN Group of Schools in Chennai said, their schools have boards at the distance of  100 yards of the premises, stating tobacco-free zone but petty shops are selling tobacco products in that area.

Mrs. Nirmala Desikan, Chairperson Consumers Association of India disseminated the findings of survey done in the schools of the state.

Dr A Somasundaram, Nodal Office Tobacco Control Cell, Chennai  present at the workshop spoke how the Public Health department is initiating action to such violations. He also mentioned about cases of violation of COTPA near school premises found in the survey report and assured to take strict action against the same.

A panel discussion was also organised on the topic Saving Young Generation from exposure to Tobacco Products and usage. Dr Boopesh, MD, MPH, Medical Officer ,School Health(HEB),DPH and PM office, Dr M.Jawaharlal Nehru, HOD, Dept of Commerce, Hindu College, Chennai and Mrs Pramila Saravanan BBC Tamil spoke on the measures like vendor licensing to control such violations.

The workshop was attended by 55 people including students, health experts, representative from Child Rights Commission, tobacco control officials, media, activists working on tobacco control and Consumer and Child right issues. The media provided wide coverage of the event including print , electronic and wire.

The recommendations of the study are:

  1. Urgent action required from the Government agencies to stop tobacco companies from targeting children from aggressive advertising & selling tobacco products around schools.
  2. Stricter enforcement of COTPA rules prohibiting the selling and advertising of tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutions.
  3. 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

 Tiny Target Fact sheet Tamilnadu

Divya Patwal

VOICE

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