Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cigarette Smoking and Movies

October 2nd 2005, was the date a new ban was to come into effect in India. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had issued a notice way back in July 2005, indicating that all forms of Movies, Television shows and other entertainment must not show a person holding or lighting a cigarette. In the case of films and material produced before the Oct 2nd 2005, will carry a warning message indicating that smoking etc is dangerous.

Does this effect free speech ?

My bias against cigarettes, tobacco companies and smoking has clouded my mind completely to agree with this ban 100%. Much as i respect the freedom to air personal views and opinions, i believe such right is secondary to public health. There are numerous studies done in the US and Europe that show the impact of this subtle advertising that has been carried out by the tobacco companies.

This is probably one of the few vices that must be caught on, very early in your life. Typically if you dont start smoking before you are 18, the chances are low that you will start after. The tobacco companies are focused on catching them young, and so while advertisements are meant to sway you from one brand to another. The form of subtle advertisement, is meant to show how cool it is, the sauve, the style etc that the hero or villian goes about his business while smoking.

Smoking is fun. Smoking is stylish. Smoking is sauve. Smoking kills.

So, now what is the status of this ban ? Dont know yet. I cant find a lot of information on the web. There is supposed to be court case against this ban. There is also talk about extension provided to comply with this ban until Jan 1 2006.

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