School children as young as eight years are being targeted by the tobacco companies in India. According to a new study, the kids are eyed for the sale of the company's tobacco products and placing advertisements.
Conducted by Consumer Voice and Voluntary Health Association (VHA) of India the study titled 'India Tiny Targets Report' which was released here on Wednesday, found that nearly half of the vendors around schools sell tobacco products.
‘Children might get into nicotine addiction and have increased risk of oral cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and lung diseases. This is a big concerning public health issue that needs to be addressed.’
It covered schools in 20 cities across six states -- Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
For the study, survey was carried out in 243 schools at 487 point of sales (PoSs) across India has found that about half of them (225) sell tobacco products to minors.
"Street vendors were the most common form of vendors of the 225 tobacco points of sale. Vendors advertise tobacco products around schools and sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth," the study found.
It also stated that vendors display tobacco products in ways that are appealing to children and youth and utilize sales techniques such as discounting products and distributing free samples.
"The tobacco industry must be held accountable for their aggressive advertising efforts around our children's schools. Our schools are not safe so long as the tobacco industry continues to try and lure our children into buying their deadly products," Bhavna B Mukhopadhyay, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Association of India said.