India’s Delhi government tells Philip Morris to remove all ads

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The state government in India’s capital told Philip Morris International Inc and other tobacco companies on Saturday to remove all advertisements from tobacco shops in the city, warning them of legal action if they do not comply.

The order, sent by Delhi state’s chief tobacco control officer S. K. Arora, comes days after Reuters reported that Philip Morris was promoting Marlboro cigarettes, the world’s best-selling brand, by advertising them at tobacco shops and distributing free cigarette samples. Government officials say such tactics flout the law, reports Reuters.

The strategy was laid out in hundreds of pages of internal Philip Morris documents reviewed by Reuters that cover the period from 2009 to 2016.

Indian officials have previously said tobacco advertising using brand names or promotional slogans is illegal under the country’s Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act and its accompanying rules. But Philip Morris and India’s leading cigarette maker ITC Ltd say they comply with regulations and that the law allows advertising inside a kiosk.

Arora said the federal health ministry had told him that all brand advertisements, irrespective of where they were placed, were not allowed in the country.

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