When tobacco manufacturers run national press ads telling the
Government that its efforts to reduce smoking are muddle-headed, it’s
like turkeys promoting innovative ways of cooking the Christmas
It’s doubtful that an advertiser has ever before gone public on how
consumption of its product can be reduced. But cigarettes are not like
other products and the unique position of the Tobacco Manufacturers
Association makes it unlike any other advertiser.
Cast as the mouthpiece of the merchants of death, the TMA must overcome
a mountain of emotion and prejudice that makes it almost impossible for
the trade body to get a fair hearing.
Indeed, there will even be people in advertising and marketing who view
the TMA’s campaign, which urges the Government to cut tobacco tax to
deter more young people from smoking, as self-serving hypocrisy.
Actually, the TMA has a good case - but it will have to shout loudly to
have it heard above the hostile noise.
Tobacco smuggling from continental Europe, fuelled by the UK’s high
taxation levels, is making cigarettes affordable for many
The TMA claims that the blunt instrument approach - trying to cut
consumption by raising taxes - used by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, is
That is debatable. But nobody in the industry should question the TMA’s
right to advertise its views, however repulsive some may find them.
Stop tobacco’s apologists and who will be next for the chop? Alcohol
manufacturers, toymakers and children’s confectionery producers,
If tobacco’s defensive line is breached, it won’t be long before
anti-advertising groups with a multitude of axes to grind start pouring
through the hole.