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Film fraternity divided over anti-tobacco advertisements


New Delhi:  Film industry fraternity are divided over the effectiveness of the 30-second tobacco control advertisements, that have been screening in cinema theatres for the past two years.

“Nothing is going to help the smokers with the Anti- tobacco advertisements”, says national award winning director Priyadarshan.

“The only good thing with such ads is that it may help the new generation not to start smoking and the best solution is to stop selling cigarettes,” he says.

Tobacco control ads were introduced during 2012–2013 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and National Tobacco Control Programme in association with the World Lung Foundation -India (WLF).

Two advertisements were developed and message-tested by World Lung Foundation to be screened before during movies that depicted tobacco use.

The ads “Sponge” and “Mukesh” ran in theatres till October 2, 2013 and were later replaced with two others — “Child” and “Dhuan” — that was also developed and message-tested by WLF.

Each of these ads dealt with different harmful aspects of tobacco and encouraged viewers to quit or staying away from tobacco use.

Anjali Menon, another national award winning director has voiced her concern about the quality of the advertisements.

“The audio visual ads are usually meant to be effective but the quality of these ads are very poor and this is the reason for its ineffectiveness to convey the message”, says Anjali.

“An ad should be not be done for the sake of doing it. At the end of the day the audience come to theatre to entertain and if the ad makers understand that format, it will be effective,” she adds.

Referring to the “wonderful no smoking ads all over the world” Anjali says “they are far more effective and thought provoking.”

Nanditha Murukutla, director, WLF says “Tobacco control advertisements that are scientifically developed and message tested are one of the most effective ways to encourage people to quit and or to prevent tobacco initiation. They do so by not only raising people’s knowledge about the harms of tobacco, but by also de-normalizing tobacco use”.

“By showing the ugly truth about tobacco – the deadly harm and consequences of its use – these advertisements encourage people to quit and or stay away from taking up the use of tobacco”, Nandhita said over email.

Bollywood actor Adhil Hussain is of the opines that gory picturisation in the ads should be avoided.

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