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India: oral tobacco kite ads
  1. David Simpson
  1. d.simpson{at}

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    Despite tobacco advertising having been completely banned in India for more than two years, manufacturers of oral tobacco products have found a medium to promote their brands that is not only cheap, but particularly attractive to children. Kite flying is a popular pastime among children in many parts of India, and tobacco companies print their advertisements on material which is then passed on to kite makers free of charge, and sometimes with further incentives to ensure their ads reach their ultimate destination. Whereas other cheap kites are commonly made of packaging material, the tobacco ad kites are made from specially printed polythene. Due to the free material and incentives, the kite makers can price the finished kites at less than 50 paisa each—about one US cent—though often they simply give them to children free of charge. Understandably, the tireless members of the Burning Brain Society have lodged a complaint with the health ministry, and await action to ensure that the tobacco ad ban is enforced.

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    Manufacturers of oral tobacco products in India have taken to using kites as a marketing tool—one that is particular attractive to children.