NEW DELHI: Advertising industry watchdog ASCI will investigate campaigns by pan masala brands featuring celebrities for violation of its code in the wake of Delhi government asking stars such as Ajay Devgan and Shah Rukh Khan, among others, not to promote such items.
"Complaints against such advertisements have been received by ASCI and are being looked into. ASCI will approach the concerned advertisers to take necessary corrective action post decision by our Consumer Complaints Council," Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) secretary general Shweta Purandare said in a statement.
She said while products like pan masala and supari are not banned for sale or from advertising by law, "the ASCI code does not permit the use of celebrities in advertisements of products which by law require health warning on its pack or cannot be purchased or used by minors".
On January 18, the Delhi Government had written to several Bollywood personalities including Ajay Devgan, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Govinda, Arbaaz Khan and Sunny Leone, asking them not to endorse pan masala products as they contain areca nuts, a potential cancer causing agent.
ASCI said it would investigate into the pan masala ads and ensure that there is no violations of its code of self-regulation. As per rules and regulation laid by food and safety regulator FSSAI mandates that statutory warnings as 'Chewing of Pan Masala is injurious to health' and 'Chewing of Supari is injurious to health' are mandatory to be printed on the pack as well as for the ads, it added.
Chapter III is to safeguard against the indiscriminate use of advertising in situations or promotion of products which are regarded as hazardous or harmful to society, individuals, particularly minors.
Moreover, its clause 2 also specifies that advertisements of products which, by law, either require a health warning in their ads or cannot be purchased by minors "should not feature personalities from the field of sports, music and cinema".