Chennai: Health minister Anbumani Ramadass says that four Chief Ministers and 150 MP's had met him to oppose rigorous anti-tobacco advertisements on tobacco products including cigarettes, gutkha or beedis.
"I will not name the politicians who came to me to oppose the anti-tobacco campaign. However, one Chief Minister met me three times to request me not to issue warning on these products,” says Anbumani Ramadoss, Union health minister.
Tobacco lobbies around the world enjoy huge political clout. It is no different in India. The health minister’s revelation exposes the strong political lobby in the country. However, Ramadass has refused to name any one politician in specific. He’s only saying that those who met him came from across the political spectrum.
Among those that are named by the health minister are the film stars of the country. First it was Bollywood actor, Shah Rukh Khan who got into trouble for smoking on screen. Now it’s Vijay from the Tamil film industry, who has angered Ramadoss.
Though a bill to ban smoking on screen is pending in Parliament, the health minister’s advise to the film stars is that they don’t have to wait for a legislation to quit a bad habit.