The Centre has threatened tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc with “punitive action” for allegedly carrying out promotional activities that violated its anti-smoking laws, Reuters reported on Friday. The health ministry has has also sent a letter to the country’s largest cigarette maker ITC Limited for using objectionable promotional methods to attract the youth.
In July, the news agency carried a report that Philip Morris was marketing its product through advertisements at kiosks and by distributing Marlboro cigarettes free-of-cost at bars and clubs. The ministry cited this report in its letter to the tobacco giant and alleged that it had violated India’s tobacco control law.
Advertising tobacco products inside or outside a shop attracted punishment, the ministry said. “You are requested to clarify your position and to show-cause why appropriate punitive action be not initiated against the company and its directors,” the letter reads, according to Reuters.
Since October 2016, the government has issued four letters to Philip Morris and at least three to ITC asking them to remove kiosk advertisements, the report added.