Tobacco Advertising Regulations in India

This article on ‘Tobacco Advertising Regulations in India (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products)’ is written by an intern at Legal Upanishad.


As said in movies and other advertisements the use of tobacco products is injurious to health not only to the consumer but also affects other people. The government has made tobacco advertising regulations to protect people who are affected by the consumers of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

This article’s main intention is to tell about the government’s tobacco advertising regulations, its action on cigarettes and other tobacco products and also rules and regulations which are implemented on the advertising the cigarette and other tobacco products. In this, we’ll learn about the tobacco advertising regulations prohibiting tobacco products advertising. The main intention of enacting laws is to improve the health and welfare of the people.

The Indian Constitution and the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertising and Regulation of Trade, Commerce, Production, Supply, Distribution) Act, 2003 (COPTA) made many tobacco advertising regulations relating to the consumption and the advertising of all tobacco products and also imposed many restrictions.


The above act was enacted in the year 2003 on May 18th, this is an enactment made to prohibit advertising of, and to make regulations on the trade, commerce, production, supply, and distribution of all tobacco products, and other matter which are associated with or incidental thereto. The act also made some regulations on the consumption of all tobacco products in public places and made some restrictions on the age of use of all tobacco products. The restrictions are under the following heads:


Sec 6 of the above act made restrictions on the age of use of all tobacco products. This section consists of two parts, on the first part i.e., sub-clause 1 prohibits the sale, offer for sale, or permit the sale of, cigarettes or any other tobacco products to any person who is under the age of eighteen years.

This says that who offers or sells or permits the sale of cigarettes to the person who is under the age of eighteen is forbidden and is a punishable offense under this act. And the second part i.e., sub-clause 2 of this act explains who offers, sells, or permits the sale of all tobacco products in a place in a zone within the ambit of 100 yards of any educational establishment.

The above two parts clearly explain that the sale, offer, or authorizes the sale of all tobacco products to children and persons who are under the age of eighteen and the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products near educational institutions is a punishable offense. Section 24 of this act mentioned that whoever violates this section 6 shall be punishable with a fine that extends up to 100 rupees.


This act imposed certain restrictions on cigarettes and other tobacco product consumers especially smokers to protect the non-smokers who are in the society. Section 4 of this forbids smoking in public places, as the first part of this section states that no person shall smoke in a place having thirty people or more it may be a hotel or restaurant and it completely prohibits smoking in airports.

The second part of this section states that there should be separate places for a smoking area or space may be made. The imposed punishment for smoking in certain places is said under sec 21 of this act, whoever contravenes sec 4 shall be liable to a fine that extends to rupees two hundred and may also be compoundable and summarily tried under the provision of Code of Criminal Procedure.


All tobacco products can be the income for the government but for the interest in health and safety of the non-consumers and consumers of these tobacco products the government imposed certain restrictions on the supply, distribution, trade, and commerce of all tobacco products. Section 7 of this act explains the restrictions on the trade and commerce of all tobacco products. Sub-clause 1 states that no person shall be straightly or indirectly, produced, supply, and distributed cigarettes and other tobacco products unless there is a specified pictorial warning or by him bears thereon, on every package of the cigarette and other tobacco products.

Sub-clause 5 said that one should not manufacture, supply, and distribute all tobacco products without any label of warning on every cigarette and other tobacco products package, the nicotine & tar components are under the authorized limits. The tar and nicotine components should not overpass the authorized quantity stipulated by the regulations made under this enactment. Whoever contravenes the above section shall be imprisoned for a period which may continue to 2 years or a fine of rupees two thousand or both.


The COPTA, 2003 has inflicted certain restrictions on the traders of all tobacco products. Section 5 of this act explained it in a broader way it is the largest section of this act. This section forbids the straight or implied advertisements of all tobacco products and no other person should take part in this because it straightly or indirectly purposes or encourages to consumption of all tobacco products.

Clause 2 of this section lays down that no person should exhibit, cause to exhibit, or authorize to exhibit the advertisements of all tobacco products for the pecuniary benefit or other purposes. Filming or video recording of encouraging the tobacco trade is also prohibited under this section. And no person should distribute or cause to distribute the leaflet or handbill, which display or contains the advertisements of the cigarettes are also prohibited. No person should make any structural advertisements like hoardings, frames, displays on the walls, buildings, etc., of all tobacco products, also were forbidden. A commercial notice on the way in or inside of the stockroom or shop of all tobacco products was forbidden.

Clause 3 states that whoever indulges in the promotion or agrees to encourage the use, or smoking of all tobacco products or any trademark or brand name of all tobacco products is also under prohibition under this section.


In M/S Dhariwal Industries Limited vs. State of Maharashtra and Ors, the Bombay High held that as we all know that smoking damages the health of consumers and non-consumers, in the Cigarette Act, 2003 the Parliament has not inflicted a complete prohibition on smoking cigarettes and has relaxed content with simply banning advertisements of all tobacco products and banning the selling of all tobacco products to persons below the age of 18 years. Similarly, prohibitive steps can be taken for the gutka and pan masala.

In Ramakrishnan and Anr. Vs. State of Kerala and Ors (AIR 1999 Ker 385), the Kerala High Court explained that there can be no doubt that smoking in a public place will spoil nature to make it dangerous to the health of a person who happened to be there. It violates the Art 21 of the Indian Constitution i.e., the Right to live in a pollution-free environment, and also a punishable offense under Sec 278 of IPC (Making atmosphere noxious to health). It also stated, “A common nuisance is not excused on the ground that it causes some convenience or advantage”.


  1. The pictorial advertisements will register last long on the minds of the public so the government should make stringent rules on banning of advertisements of all tobacco products.
  2. The parents have to look after their children by not taking tobacco products. Spending time with their children will divert their minds from tobacco products.
  3. People should have another habit and must be accustomed to good activities instead of smoking and consuming other tobacco products.
  4. It’s in the hands of the people not to go towards tobacco products because the government will not ban these products as they give more income to the economy.
  5. Government has to provide a place for smokers every 500 meters and the shops should be near to that smoking zone. And the government should direct the industries to reduce the tar and nicotine chemicals in all tobacco products.


Where there is a right there is an obligation to do, if we have freedom of expressing our thoughts there will be a consecutive obligation to spread the positive rather than the negative atmosphere in the world. The laws and other regulations which are implemented and enacted by the government are mainly focused on the health and safety of the public and also to look after the economic stability of the nation. It’s mainly should on the minds of people not to addict towards the cigarettes and other tobacco products but the government regulations should boost the will of the public. Not only the tobacco products but also the gutka, pan masala, and alcohol.


  1. Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (tobacco advertising regulations, Commerce, Production, Supply, Distribution) Act, 2003.