In a letter to the health ministry and the information and broadcasting ministry, HRIDAY (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth) pointed to "blatant violations of the rules" in the print advertisements.
"These ads, showing Hashmi smoking, have been published in supplements of leading national dailies. This amounts to a violation of the Rule 9(2) of the said (government) notification," said the letter. It cited the notification saying that "any promotional material and posters of the films and television programmes shall not depict any tobacco products or their usage in films".
The HRIDAY letter also asked the ministry of information and broadcasting and the Central Board of Film Certification, as the implementing agencies of the rules, to take appropriate action against the filmmakers and distributors in light of the violations. "It is a violation of Section 5 of Control of Tobacco Products Act, which prohibits all forms of advertisement (direct, indirect/surrogate), promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products," the letter said.
The letter was sent to Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and senior officials of the health ministry. HRIDAY, in a report, had said that Indian adolescents exposed to tobacco in films were twice as likely to become tobacco users.