New Delhi: Henceforth, every time an actor is seen taking a puff on screen, a prominent scroll warning that smoking is injurious to health will run at the bottom. What's more, the actor will personally read out the ill-effects of smoking, say the new health ministry rules to be effective from Monday.
According to the rules, all filmmakers depicting usage of tobacco will have to show a message or spot of minimum 30 seconds at the beginning and middle of the concerned film or TV programme.
For films or programmes being made after Monday, a strong editorial justification for display of tobacco products or their use shall be given to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) along with a UA certification.
A representative from health ministry will also be present in the CBFC.
It will also need a disclaimer of minimum 20 seconds duration by the concerned actor regarding the ill effects of the use of such products in the beginning and middle of the film or television programme.
Also, the names of brands of cigarettes and other tobacco products will also have to be cropped or blurred.
"India has the largest film producing industry and films have played a key role in the process of social change and in influencing the Indian culture. Thus, for the tobacco industry, films provide an opportunity to convert a deadly product into a status symbol or token of independence," a statement from the ministry said Friday.
"The role of movies as vehicles for promoting tobacco use has become even more important as other forms of tobacco promotion are constrained," it said.
According to a combined study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the health ministry, tobacco usage was shown in nearly 89 percent movies in 2005 compared to 76 percent in 2003.
Nearly 75 percent of the movies showed the lead character smoking in 2005 and 41 percent showed the brand.