February 14, 2012: Advertising & Promotion of Indian Tobacco Products during Cricket Matches in Australia
Australian NGO sounds alert over promotion of gutka by Indian company
Indian activists applaud Australian Government for timely action

Anti-tobacco activists in India have welcomed the move by an anti-tobacco lobby, Action on Smoking and Health, in Australia which alerted and pressurised Cricket Australia to immediately remove a surrogate advertisement by an Indian company promoting gutka in Australia.

"The advertisement of an Indian gutka company was seen displayed on the boundary rope during the Australia-India Test series in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide. The controversial advertisement was once again on display in the two T-20 international matches and a one-day international match played in Melbourne. After being alerted by a local non-government organisation, the Australian cricket administrators immediately ordered removal of all the Hindi advertisements of the gutka ," noted a release issued by NGO Voluntary Health Association of India on Thursday.

"Tobacco companies continue to target people, especially the youth, by making use of surrogate means to advertise tobacco products. Legislation in India needs to be effectively enforced and loopholes need to be tightened to avoid advertising and promotion of tobacco products through surrogate means. A big applause to the Australian Government for taking strict and timely action," said Voluntary Health Association of India executive director Bhavna Mukhopadhyay.

"It's a shameful moment for India that clever surrogate marketing of tobacco products still continues to lure teenagers towards tobacco and this time in Australia," she added.

The release issued by Voluntary Health Association of India said Cricket Australia is under fire for the boundary line advertising and could face fines. All forms of tobacco advertising are banned in Australia under the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act-1992 and the Australian Government is in the process of banning the use of tobacco industry logo, brand imagery and even product names.
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