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Surrogate ads matter of concern, have approached I&B Min: Health Ministry official

Press Trust of India  |  Panaji 

is a matter of concern and the has suggested to the to come up with some measures to address the issue, a top said.

in the Vikas Sheel said this in response to a question at the five-day Control Program hosted by the that got underway at South Goa's Majorda, about 30 km from here, on Monday.

is used to promote products like alcohol and cigarettes, for which advertisements are prohibited, in the guise of other products.

There are several ostensibly which are advertised in print or screen, where the targeted audience are tobacco-users. These are 'proxy' or 'surrogate ads. It is a matter of concern for us (health ministry) and we are working on it, Sheel said.

During a panel discussion on Monday on 'Incorporating Control in Non-Communicable Diseases Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), he also cited examples of a pan masala advertisement, in which a celebrity promotes the product, and a CD brand commercial that is a proxy 'promotion' for a liquor brand.

Asked if the has approached the on the issue, he said, yes.

We have been looking for opportunities to raise the issue with them (ministry of I&B). And, we have been suggesting them to come up with some measures to address it, he said.

in the Health Ministry, L Swasticharan, during another session - Challenges and Opportunities for Advancing Control in - flagged the concerns over 'surrogate advertising' wherein companies are getting away with it, just because the product does not have tobacco as an ingredient, but subliminally, it is affecting the audience towards

And celebrities, by lending their face, have made the issue even more difficult to address. So, a famous endorses a pan masala ad with a catch jingle and then another product having a similar name, with tobacco inside, is parallely marketed. Since, cannot be advertised in India, these ads become surrogate ads, he said.

As per the second Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2) of released last year, 28.6 per cent use tobacco in one form or the other.

GATS is a global standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use and tracking key tobacco control indicators. India is the second largest consumer and third largest producer, of tobacco.

GATS 2 results found a 6 per cent decline in tobacco use prevalence, from (34.6 per cent in) GATS 1 to 28.6 per cent in GATS 2. The decline in prevalence was equivalent to a 17 per cent relative decrease, said Praveen Sinha, National Consultant, at a session today on 'Implementation of the National Tobacco Control Program.

Seema Gupta, Director, (VHAI), an NGO, said, We approach celebrities to convince them to not advertise products which amount to surrogate ads.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, August 08 2018. 13:10 IST
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