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India reconsiders filmmakers’ smoking disclaimers

| May 1, 2013

At a meeting with the filmmaker on April 17, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare agreed to consider the possibility of replacing the current anti-smoking disclaimers played in movie theaters with more creative ones, reports The Times of India.

Filmmakers and broadcasters said they are not opposed to laws that prevent glorification of smoking, but want a change in the way the disclaimers are displayed in a film.

Kulmeet Makkar of Film and Television Producers Guild said anti-smoking messages should be pleasant and aesthetic, without affecting creativity.

Makkar said the film industry is opposed to the regulation requiring an editorial justification for including smoking scenes in films, as the rule takes away a filmmaker’s “right to express reality.”

Bollywood movies show 14 billion images of tobacco use every year, according to a study conducted by the nongovernmental organization HRIDAY in collaboration with Imperial College London.

The World Health Organization recommends that movies with tobacco content be given an adult rating. In September 2012, the Indian government started requiring movies that portray tobacco use to include health warnings, but it provided no guidance on ratings.