NEWS: Govt targets children in anti-smoking blitz

The Government is to launch a separate campaign against teenage smoking following the failure of previous efforts aimed at adults and children.

The Government is to launch a separate campaign against teenage smoking

following the failure of previous efforts aimed at adults and children.



The Department of Health has invited three organisations to pitch for

the new campaign, worth pounds 1 million a year in each of the next

three years. They are the Health Education Authority, which retains

control of a pounds 3 million-a-year offensive against adult smoking,

the Central Office of Information, the government’s advertising body,

and the communications company, Brewer Blacker.



It is believed the COI has already been eliminated after initial pitches

last week. If the HEA wins the account, it is expected to hand the work

to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which runs the adult smoking campaign,

rather than hold another pitch. Brewer Blacker was included on the

shortlist on the strength of its previous work in schools on the

Government’s anti-drugs campaign.



The pounds 1 million-a-year budget to combat teenage smoking may cover

research as well as advertising and the Health department says it will

be up to bidders to make proposals on the scale of advertising.



The Government’s decision to split the anti-smoking effort stems from

disappointing figures on the number of children taking up the habit.

Ministers set a target of reducing the proportion of 11- to 15-year-olds

who smoke from 8 per cent in 1988 to 6 per cent by last year. Instead,

it has jumped to 12 per cent.



Teenage girls are more likely to be hooked than boys - one in eight

girls smoke, compared with one in ten boys.



The statistics have prompted renewed calls for a ban on tobacco

advertising. The British Medical Association claims that three of the

four most heavily promoted cigarette brands appear in the top four

smoked by children.



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