Tobacco giants flout voluntary advertising code

By HARRIET GREEN, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 15 August 1997 12:00AM

Tobacco companies are breaching their voluntary code on advertising and sponsorship at least twice a month, according to new evidence that suggests they are throwing caution to the wind in the face of the Labour Government’s proposed ban on all tobacco advertising.

Tobacco companies are breaching their voluntary code on advertising

and sponsorship at least twice a month, according to new evidence that

suggests they are throwing caution to the wind in the face of the Labour

Government’s proposed ban on all tobacco advertising.



The Committee for Monitoring Agreements on Tobacco Advertising and

Sponsorship found 30 direct breaches of the industry’s voluntary ad code

in the past year, compared with 15 the year before.



The breaches included 19 examples of tobacco posters placed near

schools, a practice outlawed at the start of 1996, and the failure of

companies to update health warnings on some of their ads.



Frank Dobson, the Secretary of State for Health, said this week: ’These

figures illustrate the weakness of the voluntary agreement. The time is

clearly right for a legally enforceable ban on advertising - the status

quo is unacceptable.’



The revelation comes at the same time as evidence of tobacco companies’

rising spend on outdoor. For the four months from April to August,

advertisers spent 28 per cent more on packaged poster campaigns than in

the same period last year, but this was boosted by heavy spending by

Rothmans Royals to promote a new pack size.



Tobacco companies agreed to reduce their outdoor adspend by 40 per cent

two years ago. Between January and August, they spent pounds 4.4 million

on packaged campaigns, compared with pounds 5.6 million for the whole of

last year.



Nigel Mansell, the managing director of the outdoor specialist, Concord,

said: ’The high level of spending seems to suggest that tobacco

companies are playing out their cards before the ban.’



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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