Senior figures in the Indian film industry havespoken out against the government's plan to ban smoking scenes in films.

Lastweek, the Indian government announced it would ban all scenes showing smokingor cigarette packs in films and TV programmes. The new law will apply to bothIndian films and to foreign films released in India. (,June 1).

Indian Censor Board chief Sharmila Tagore said thefilm industry or the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) should havebeen consulted on the matter before the ban was imposed.

Tagore said: "No self-respecting Film Directorwill like this ban and this is a decision taken in haste".

She said that the government should give the industrymore time to work on the matter. "Although I support the intent, it isvery difficult to implement, especially when we have foreign movies also cominginto the country," she added.

The Film and Television Producers' Guild of India(FTVPGI) said the guideline would hamper the growth of the entertainmentindustry.

Amit Khanna, president of the FTVPGI, told,"Given the fact that the censor board has already laid down guidelines,which are sufficient to tackle this issue, it is strange that this suddenhigh-handed decision has been clamped on this industry".

The guild has also written to the Indian Informationand Broadcasting Minister Jaipal Reddy urging him to persuade the Indian Healthministry to withdraw the impending legislation.