Tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship is responsible for the growth of unhealthy tobacco consumption. The MPOWER technical package on tobacco control by the World Health Organization (WHO), and its international treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), recommend bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS). In India, Section 5 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) prohibits all direct and indirect advertisement of tobacco products and activity that may promote the use of tobacco products or any trademark or brand name of tobacco products.
Yet, tobacco marketing continues, globally and in India, including through online forums that are less well regulated. Additionally, “corporate political activity” (CPA) or the attempts by corporations to influence policy to promote tobacco products has been well-documented internationally as a means of promoting tobacco. Chart 1 describes the range of direct and indirect tobacco marketing activities observed on online platforms in India. Using these frameworks, the Tobacco Enforcement and Reporting Movement or TERM was launched as a project by Vital Strategies to monitor tobacco marketing activities in India, as observed and reported online, and including those related to E-cigarettes and other novel products. This situation report is part of a monthly series that summarizes such observed instances of tobacco marketing.