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Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

Govt bets on Indian Railways for anti-tobacco campaign

The outdoor campaign will show images and messages highlighting the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco

New Delhi: The ministry of health and family welfare is riding on the country’s railway network to push its advertising campaign against smokeless (chewing) tobacco.

Titled Tears You Apart and launched on Tuesday, the outdoor campaign will show images and messages highlighting the harmful effects of smokeless tobacco. The advertisements will feature on the exteriors of 14 trains that run on major routes. The campaign ends in September.

The campaign has been conceptualised and executed by the global health experts’ organization Vital Strategies and will be featured across eight states—Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab. Vital Strategies is an affiliate of The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), which addresses public health challenges around the world.

The new advertisements come as an extension to the ministry’s multi-channel campaign of the same name which is currently running on public broadcaster Doordarshan and 66 private satellite channels and will soon be shown in cinemas under India’s Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act’s (COTPA) film rule. According to this rule, warnings about tobacco’s harms should be shown before and during films and television shows that portray tobacco consumption.

“The Government is committed to ensuring healthcare and social safety for all Indians. Warning people about the dangers of tobacco is a key part of our strategy, using mass media campaigns, film rule and all other methods of behaviour change communication," C.K. Mishra, additional secretary, ministry of health and family welfare said in a statement issued jointly by the ministry and Vital Strategies.

Tears You Apart advertisements are public service announcements (PSA) against smokeless tobacco and delve into the lives of victims and their families who have suffered because of their chewing addiction. The messages are issued in the public interest and television channels carry them without any charge.

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