Each year, India confers a Bravery Award on the most courageous man in the country. It’s a highly publicized event, organized by a major tobacco company. Its brand is in every picture, every film and every photograph. No obvious cigarettes - just suggestive pictures.
This is what is called surrogate advertising - in a country where tobacco advertising is banned.
All the major tobacco brands want a share of the Indian market - and its billion-strong population.
In the heart of New Delhi, brand new shopping outlets attract well-off young people, and advertisement boards well above the legal size are on display outside.
The World Health Organization in New Delhi has declared this a priority matter: tracking down banned advertising disguised as products of daily life, sometimes meant for children.
The tobacco industry uses its name on all kinds of products to bypass advertosing laws and promote their brands by stealth. It’s a commercial development which is not without consequences on people’s health. The latest official study shows that, from 2010, one million people will die each year in India as a result of nicotine addiction.