- World No Tobacco Day is celebrated on May 31 every year.
- The sale of tobacco directly is prohibited in India, so it is advertised as substitute products such as mouth fresheners.
- This form of advertising is called alternative advertising.
Tobacco use is one of WHO’s biggest public health problems, which not only leads people to lose their lives, but also leaves behind heavy economic and social costs. In 2017-2018 alone, the total economic costs of tobacco use in India amounted to $27.5 billion.
Governments of India have repeatedly tried to introduce stricter policies regarding tobacco, but it is still quite popular among Indians, especially since other alternatives are much less accessible. And tobacco continues to be sold in India – only under a different name. You may have noticed that some of the larger smokeless tobacco companies use euphemisms to sell their gutka.
Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Ranveer Singh and Ajay Devgn in Legal Soup; case registered for “promotion of gutka”
Akshay Kumar issues statement after being brutally trolled for association with pan masala brand, says ‘I’m taking a step back’
This type of ad is called a substitute ad.
Endorse “bad” ideas? Ajay Devgn says “if some things are so bad, they shouldn’t be sold”. But with influence comes responsibility
A substitute, in simple terms, means a substitute. When a particular product, such as alcohol or tobacco, cannot be advertised directly due to a legal prohibition, it is sold under the disguise of another product sold by the same society.
This is true for tobacco and alcohol brands. Tobacco is not projected directly onto consumers but rather masked under the image of a mouth freshener.
What is India’s position on tobacco in the media?
However, in practice, the situation seems much more complicated. Many believe that the alcohol and tobacco lobbies have a great influence on governments, not only at home but around the world, and that is why we have collectively failed to nip this problem in the bud. .
Does Alternative Advertising Work?
Surveys and interviews have revealed that over 95% of people can identify banned products being advertised through alternative advertisements. These prove to work better for brands than an outright ban as the public is constantly reminded of their presence.