The Union Health Ministry has warned tobacco giants ITC Ltd and Philip Morris International Inc of punitive action over violation of anti-tobacco laws by promoting Marlboro cigarettes, reports on Friday said.
According to Reuters, Philip Morris was notified of the action in a letter from the ministry. The letter calls into question Phillip Morris' cigarette advertisements, the free distribution of Marlboro cigarettes at nightclubs and bars, and marketing its products on TV screens.
"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 to Philip Morris said.
IANS reports that the letter was issued to Philip Morris on 10 August. "In the communication, the health Ministry has warned Philip Morris against promotional activities for Marlboro cigarettes, which is a violation of the country's tobacco control law and is subject to punishment under the act," Arun Jha, economic advisor in the ministry of health and family welfare, told IANS.
Jha said the two companies have been sent the letter and told to clarify their stand on the issue immediately. However, the cause of action against ITC was not clear.
He said tobacco advertisements that use brand names, pack images or promotional messages are banned at kiosks - both inside and outside.