The Centre on Wednesday made it mandatory for over-the-top media service platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to carry anti-tobacco warning messages, reported PTI.

The directive came after the Union Health Ministry amended rules under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2004. The new rules are called the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Rules. 2023 and will come into force three months.

Publishers of online content, which displays tobacco products or their use, will be required to display anti-tobacco health spots for at least 30 seconds at the beginning and middle of the programme. They will also have to publish an anti-tobacco health warning as a prominent static message at the bottom of the screen when tobacco products or their use are displayed during the programme.

An audio-visual disclaimer of a minimum of 20 seconds on the ill-effects of tobacco use will also have to be displayed at the beginning and middle of the programme, according to the new rules.

The centre said that an inter-ministerial committee with representatives from the health ministry, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, will be set up to ensure that the rules are followed.

If the shows fail to comply with the rules, strict action will be taken against the platforms, the Centre said.

The content shown in cinema halls and television channels already display an anti-tobacco health spot, of a minimum of thirty seconds duration each at the beginning and middle of the films and television programme.