Anti-smoking activists protest tobacco ad using Tagore’s image


DHAKA, June 11, 2019 (BSS) – A leading anti-smoking group today protested a foreign tobacco company advertisement tending to use poet Rabindranath Tagore’s image to promote its brands in Bangladesh.

“A Japanese tobacco company is smartly advertising their brands in the name of a campaign on Rabindranath Tagore’s historic Japan visit,” anti-tobacco group Progga said in a statement.

Progga’s executive director ABM Zubair said the Japan Tobacco (JTI) ad has actually defied the country’s tobacco laws “which is unprecedented as well”. Several private TV channels and newspapers are carrying a commercial to promote actor and singer Tahsan’s planned revisit of Tagore’s historic Japan tour.

“The advertisement used JTI’s brand colour and slogan “Japanese quality” which clearly indicates that the company tends to promote its brand in Bangladesh,” the statement read.

It said the attempt to use Tagore’s image in promoting tobacco “is an unpardonable offense” while the great poet was free from tobacco or any type of addiction.

Writer and professor of Bengali litterateur Dr Ratan Siddiqui said the tobacco ad in no way go with Rabindranath Tagore as the poet was never a smoker.

“This (ad) is unacceptable, it defamed Rabindranath Tagore,” he said.

Bangladesh’s tobacco law prohibits direct and indirect promotion of tobacco products, the defiance of which is punishable by three months of imprisonment and/ or Taka 100,000 penalty.