ISP warns Govt over tobacco ad ban

The Government was warned this week that a ban on the use of direct mail by tobacco companies may end up costing lives rather than saving them.

The Government was warned this week that a ban on the use of direct

mail by tobacco companies may end up costing lives rather than saving

them.



Meanwhile, speculation is mounting that the tobacco industry could turn

to the courts if the Government refuses to allow it to communicate

directly with customers.



A direct mail ban will also put thousands of jobs under threat,

according to the Institute of Sales Promotion. Sue Short, its

secretary-general, said: ’It’s difficult to see how jobs will not be

lost.’



The tobacco and marketing industries are furious that the Government’s

newly announced #50 million declaration of war on smoking makes no

exceptions for tobacco companies that want to be allowed to continue to

communicate product news directly to known smokers who want to receive

it.



Philip Circus, the ISP’s legal advisor, claimed the outlawing of direct

mail for tobacco companies was not only a breach of basic consumer

rights but might work against the Government’s objectives.



’A lot of information that could be passed on through direct mail by

tobacco companies could actually be helpful in meeting the Government’s

objectives,’ he claimed.



’Now companies won’t be able to tell smokers about low- tar cigarettes

or other potentially less harmful products. Not only will a direct mail

ban not help the Government but may actually frustrate it.’



The ISP said it would continue pressing the Government to change its

mind. But if it refuses to budge, Circus warned that it could well face

a legal challenge by the tobacco industry. ’Direct marketing is where

the arguments are strongest,’ he claimed.



Live Issue, p12.



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