The Kerala High Court on Monday expressed skepticism about the idea that people, especially young individuals, would start smoking merely by seeing smoking scenes in movies or on television shows..Justice Devan Ramachandran questioned the expectation that the entire screen should carry health warnings and raised concerns about the impact of such regulations on international and regional films.He highlighted the importance of addressing peer pressure, availability of cigarettes, and societal acceptance as significant factors contributing to smoking habits.“That is all that your thinking. You are attributing much less to these boys and girls than you can expect. They are far more intelligent than you are or we are. They are not doing all this by seeing it on screen, they have their reasons. I'm certain that smoking, drinking, and even drugs are not merely because you see it on the screen. It's mostly because of peer pressure, availability, acceptance- people who normalize it,” Justice Ramachandran remarked.He indicated support for initiatives to prevent smoking, drinking and drug use among the youth, but said that such vices are not solely caused by on-screen depictions.“I am not against you; I am with you. If there is any step to take to prevent children and drinking, I’ll be with you. More importantly drugs. Young boys or girls do not start smoking when they see it on the screen. It is more peer group,” the single-judge said.The High Court was considering a petition challenging the non-implementation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA, 2023) which mandates anti-tobacco warnings and disclaimers by publishers of online curated content (OTT platforms) in audiovisual programs depicting the use of cigarettes and tobacco products..The petition before the Court was filed by the Kerala Voluntary Health Services, an organization affiliated with the Voluntary Health Association of India. The petitioner has raised concerns about the widespread display of tobacco or smoking scenes in television, movies, and Over the Top (OTT) Media Platforms.The petitioner submitted that Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (COTPA, 2023), and the government notification mandating disclaimers while displaying tobacco scenes on media platforms are frequently disregarded.The petitioner added that motion pictures displaying the consumption of tobacco products would particularly affect children and adolescents as their immaturity makes them more willingly to suspend their beliefs than mature men and women.“The adolescents and the children viewing their favorite heroes on screen indulging in smoking will be more tempted to pick up the habit of smoking believing it to be a style statement. Therefore, it is only just and necessary that appropriate directions are issued to the respondents to prevent indirect advertisement in films and other visual media,” the petitioner submitted.Despite submitting representations on these issues to the concerned authorities for the strict implementation of the law, no positive response was received by the petitioner, leading the organisation to approach the High Court. .The petitioner, therefore, said that the Court should intervene and address the issue in order to ensure the enforcement of regulations concerning the portrayal of tobacco use in various media platforms..Justice Ramachandran emphasized the need for a nuanced understanding of the factors influencing behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs. The High Court proceeded to direct the Deputy Solicitor General of India to accept notice of the plea on behalf of the Central Government, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ‘A’ Wing, the National Tobacco Control Committee, and the Central Board of Film CertificationThe Government Pleader was also called on to accept notice on behalf of the Kerala Government and the State Tobacco Control Committee..The petitioner was represented by advocates R Sanjith, CS Sindhu Krishnah and Gouri Laiju.