The Pros And Cons Of Tobacco

885 Words 4 Pages
In February of 2001, the Government of India announced they would be tabling a bill to ban advertising by Tobacco Companies. The arguments in-favor and opposing this ban were the topic of the Indian Tobacco article (Case Code BECG002).
There were a number of reasons to support the ban. Several European nations had already implemented bans on advertising, and they all witnessed a drop in cigarette consumption once the bans were in effect. In Finland for example, the period from 1978 to 1996 witnessed a 37% decrease in cigarette consumption. Several nations had also issued rulings stating bans on tobacco advertising were permissible, as they did not restrict the sale of the products. The argument followed that the government had a responsibility
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The Supreme Court in Canada held in another ruling “The state seeks to control the thought, beliefs and behavior of its citizens” and this was “unacceptable in a free and democratic society”.
It was also observed that if tobacco products were legal to purchase, they should also be legal to advertise. Tobacco companies also argued advertising was most relevant to people who already smoked. In a 1998 Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) survey it was also found that no survey participants had responded that advertising had caused them to start smoking.
There was also concern cigarettes only accounted for sixteen percent of tobacco consumption, and the proposed legislation did not address producers of the eighty-four percent. Foreign magazines and satellite television available in India would still contain advertising for cigarettes, putting the domestic producers at a disadvantage. The Indian tobacco industry contributed about 12% of total excise tax revenue and experts were concerned that restrictions might lead to decreased
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Several notable objections after implementation of the ban were that bans on advertising didn’t address the problem of people smoking in the first place, and banning domestic ads created an unfair advantage for international tobacco companies.
Of additional concern is the conflict of interest the government had in this ruling. If the objective truly is to protect its citizens then the sale of the product should not be allowed. Denying the tobacco companies the right to advertise their product, potentially deterring sales, while the government continues to collect tax revenue on the sale and export of a product is at best disingenuous and at worst criminal.
The case study asks the question “is it proper for the government to interfere in matters of personal choice in the first place?”, and that is an excellent question. If the consumers of the product have the legal right to consume the product, then the companies should be allowed to advertise. As tobacco is recognized as a dangerous product, it would make far more sense to make consumption

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