After backlash, Akshay Kumar apologises for endorsing pan masala brand

The actor had co-starred in the ad for Vimal Elaichi pan masala along with Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan, and fans criticised him for promoting a brand of harmful products.
Actors Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan in chewing tobacco brand Vimal Elaichi's ad
Actors Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan in chewing tobacco brand Vimal Elaichi's ad
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Actor Akshay Kumar has extended an apology to fans and well-wishers after social media users criticised him for appearing in an ad for the chewing tobacco brand Vimal Elaichi. Many social media users and fans were of the opinion that Akshay, who is a fitness enthusiast, should not endorse a gutka or chewing tobacco brand. While Vimal Elaichi is marketed as a mouth freshener, fans have criticised the actor for his association with the chewing tobacco company. 

The recently released ad by Vimal Elaichi features actors Ajay Devgn, Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar. SRK and Ajay have also appeared in other ads released by the  brand  in the past. After its release, fans dug up an older video of Akshay Kumar saying that he would “never do a gutka ad”. In the older video of a press meet, Kumar is heard saying that he had received offers from gutka companies to act in their ads. But he said that he endorsed the ‘Swasth Bharath’ or ‘Healthy India’ concept, and wouldn’t do anything “bad” in light of it. 

On Wednesday, April 21, the actor issued a formal apology after the ad aired. "I'm sorry. I would like to apologise to you, all my fans and well-wishers. Your reaction over the past few days has deeply affected me. While I have not and will not endorse tobacco, I respect the outpouring of your feelings in light of my association with Vimal Elaichi. With all humility, I step back," Kumar said in a tweet.

He also noted that he will be contributing the entire endorsement fee charged by him towards a worthy cause, while also adding that the brand would continue to air his ads till the contract he signed with it comes to an end. He further pointed out that he will be mindful about the choices he makes in the future. 

"I have decided to contribute the entire endorsement fee towards a worthy cause. The brand might continue airing the ads till the legal duration of the contract that is binding upon me, but I promise to be extremely mindful in making my future choices. In return, I shall forever continue to ask for your love and wishes," the tweet read. The actor, however,  has not mentioned the duration of his contract for the Vimal Elaichi ad. 

Gutka and other products that contain tobacco are regulated under the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition, Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act of 2003. With this, as is the case with liquor, tobacco products cannot be advertised through any medium directly. 

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