Pierce Brosnan is under fire from Indian authorities who are demanding an explanation for his appearance in an advert for a potentially harmful breath freshener called Pan Bahar associated with an addictive chewing tobacco. He has since apologised, denying any knowledge of such ingredients within the product.

Pierce Brosnan snapped in Los AngelesPierce Brosnan snapped in Los Angeles

Indian authorities have suggested that the actor could be fined 5,000 rupees ($78 or £56) or even go to jail for up to two years if he does not offer a suitable explanation, for going against the country's law prohibiting the advertisement of tobacco products.

Pierce revealed in a statement that his contract for the advertisement specified a 'breath freshener/tooth whitener' with no 'tobacco' or 'harmful ingredient', or even a chemical that would contribute to the red spit stains often seen around urban Indian areas from chewing tobacco.

'As a man who has spent decades championing women's healthcare and environmental protection, I was distressed to learn of Pan Bahar's unauthorized and deceptive use of my image to endorse their range of pan masala products', he told People. 'I would never have entered into an agreement to promote a product in India that is dangerous to one's health.'

The 'James Bond' star has since condemned Pan Bahar for 'grossly manipulating' the media into making him their brand ambassador, a move he describes as a 'violation' of his contract. He has demanded that his image be removed from all their products and advertisement.

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'Having endured, in my own personal life, the loss of my first wife and daughter as well as numerous friends to cancer, I am fully committed to supporting women's healthcare and research programs that improve human health and alleviate suffering', he continued. 'I shall endeavor to rectify this matter. In the meantime, please accept my sincerest and heartfelt apologies to all whom I have offended.'