Stopping Tobacco Industry Interference in Educational Institutions

Sunfeast Milky Magic Allrounder Competitions

The competition was conducted by ITC (Indian Tobacco Company) in Tamil Nadu during 2011.To encourage brand loyalty and maintain a stable customer turnout for their tobacco products these companies are also promoting sports and cultural events for the students through indirect advertisements by promoting non tobacco products with the brand names and logos as visual identifiers of tobacco products throughout the event.

With the lobby of Mary Anne Charity Trust (MACT), the Education Department prohibited the schools from participating in the competitions. However the competitions were held as planned. On 28th Jan 2011 the Competition started amidst glitz and grandeur of ITC hangouts and banners displayed in front of the auditorium gates and auditorium entrance. There was a long bench for registration with many volunteers from ITC to control and speed up registration process. With the help of State Tobacco Control Cell, Education Department and the Police of Chennai, MACT forced the organizers to stop the event.

Further through the lobby of MACT with the Education Department, the 242 order by brought out which states that “No educational institution is permitted to participate through its students or its faculties in the events/ sponsorship/ gift/ prizes/ scholarship or any other activities that promote any tobacco company either through the use of (tobacco) company or brand name, emblem, trademark, logo, or trade insignia or any other distinctive features connected with its tobacco or non-tobacco products or services in such a way that the tobacco products and the non-tobacco products or service are likely to be associated.”

The 242 Government Order is one of its kind in India. The Tamil Nadu Education Department has taken a huge leap in terms of curbing tobacco industries interference in educational institutions.

Classmate Spellbee Competitions

Classmate Spellbee Competitions Season 6 – 2014 was being conducted by ITC Classmate. Referring to 242 Tamilnadu Government Order, TNPFTC lobbied with the School Education Department to disallow any educational institution from participating in the competition. The letter from the department was issued on 25.02.2014 which banned all educational institutions from participating in the competitions.

In Feb 2014, TNPFTC was involved in banning “Classmate Spellbee 2014 Competitions” in Tamilnadu and were successful in the process with the Tamilnadu School Education Department banning the participation of educational institutions of Tamilnadu in Classmate Spellbee 2014 competition.

When Classmate came about with Season 7, TNPFTC sent out representations to all the concerned department to take action against all the violators participating in the competitions.