NEWS: Rothmans breaches code with free-press push

Tobacco companies are risking a further clampdown on their advertising following moves by tobacco giants to breach a gentlemen’s agreement prohibiting tobacco ads in the free press.

Tobacco companies are risking a further clampdown on their advertising

following moves by tobacco giants to breach a gentlemen’s agreement

prohibiting tobacco ads in the free press.



It has emerged that Rothmans has been advertising in free newspapers,

effectively breaching a voluntary ban.



The tobacco industry has a voluntary code restricting its advertising as

a public signal that it is responsible and sensitive about the issue.



Although there is no specific clause about free-sheets, cigarette ads in

free newspapers are considered unsuitable because they are delivered to

people’s homes unsolicited, and are therefore more easily accessible to

children.



Now it has emerged that Rothmans ran an advertising campaign for its

Raffles brand in a number of free papers in the South of England over

Christmas and the New Year. Gallaher has denied reports that it

advertised in the free press in North Wales last autumn.



Although the tobacco companies have done nothing that can be considered

illegal, the decision could have wider implications for tobacco

advertising in general.



One legal adviser to the regional newspaper industry warned that ‘with

the tobacco companies fighting desperately to avoid further

restrictions, this could encourage a further clampdown on tobacco ads’.



Current legislation prevents tobacco advertisers from using TV and

poster sites near to schools. Self-imposed restrictions also exist in

the cinema and all youth media.



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