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India: promoting tobacco via “research”
  1. Hemant Goswami
  1. Burning Brain Society, Chandigarh, India; info@burningbrain.org

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    Philip Morris’ subsidiary in India, Godfrey Phillips India Ltd (GPI), has recently been using “research” to cloak illicit cigarette promotions inside one of India’s premier educational institutions, Punjab University (PU) at Chandigarh.

    Since December 2004, India has banned the sale of tobacco products within a radius of 100 yards (91.4 m) of all educational institutions. In April 2006 GPI reached inside PU with a team of young people, each paid 1000 rupees (US$22) per day—about five times a typical wage for sales promotion work—to conduct what they described as “research”. The item being researched was Red & White Mild cigarettes.

    “Researchers” found at PU were confronted and asked about their research objectives. They produced a form for collecting details from those they engaged in conversation or those whom they provided with a sample cigarette or a pack. The promotions proceed like this: tobacco retailers are offered 1000 rupees and free cigarette packs. Posters are put up and the shop and the nearby …

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