The government of India in 2001 was faced with, a conflict of interest arising out of their decision to place a on to place a ban on the advertising of tobacco products. This conflict of interest of interest would be dealt with later in this case study, but for now I will deal with the arguments in favor and in opposition of the ban on the advertising of tobacco products.
It was the Indian government that ignited the debate, by announcing on February 6th 2001, its impending ban on the advertising of tobacco products. The government’s official reason was its effort to safeguard the health of the populace by discouraging consumption of tobacco products by adolescents. The second reason for the ban was to arm itself legislatively for the anti-tobacco fight. The Indian government laid out a series of arguments in favor of the ban:
They followed the lead of countries like France, Norway and Finland who previously banned tobacco products.
According to the World Health Organization (2013) there were 3 million tobacco deaths in 1990 and the 2030 projections are more than 8 million.
A case study by the Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and Other Drugs indicated that a reduction in tobacco consumption equated to a rise in employment. Money saved by people using less tobacco was spent in other areas of the economy thereby stimulating growth.
According to a study by International Union against Cancer (1997) A ban on tobacco advertising in four countries was followed by a between 14 and 37 % drop in tobacco.
Finally a DOH (1992) case study stated that the ban on tobacco advertising could yield positive results if it is part of a greater tobacco control policy.
Arguments against the ban of tobacco advertising have been made by the tobacco industry. I will now outline some of the arguments:
According to Sarkar (n.d.) the consumption of tobacco by adults is their own free choice and they are aware of the risks which are fully explained.
Another argument against the ban on tobacco advertising stated that the lawful production and sale of tobacco should be accompanied by lawful advertising.
The tobacco industry insisted that advertising assisted adults in making informed choices on tobacco brands.
Tobacco companies argued that advertising of particular brands was focused on persons who already smoked that brand and was not directed at non smokers of teenagers.
The tobacco industry claimed that the ban on advertising would not be very effective as big cigarette companies had only 16 percent of the market. They believed the sale of the products allowed people to purchase a safer more refined product.
The industry analysts raised the concern that surrogate advertising would replace regular advertising thereby defeating the purpose of the ban.
The tobacco companies argued the futility of the ban stating (i) foreign magazines and foreign TV channels would still be running cigarette advertisements (ii) auto...