Govt to rethink anti-smoking brief

The Government is to review its anti-smoking creative account as it prepares to launch a massive drive to persuade people to quit the habit.

The Government is to review its anti-smoking creative account as it

prepares to launch a massive drive to persuade people to quit the

habit.



The pounds 3 million a year spend will be increased greatly and

ministers will put the new account up for grabs. It is currently split

between Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which has a pounds 2.5 million budget

from the Health Education Authority, and the through-the-line agency,

Brewer Blackler, which works for the Department of Health.



The full-scale review emerged as ministers announced on Thursday that

they would end tobacco advertising in Britain before the deadline set by

a European Union directive agreed last year.



A long-awaited white paper outlining the Government’s strategy said it

would outlaw poster and press ads ’at the earliest practicable

opportunity, and well before the deadline required’.



The directive says billboard ads must end by 2001, but ministers plan to

abolish them a year earlier. Press ads, which must disappear across

Europe by July 2002, will also go in Britain in 2000.



’We see no strong reason to grant the printed media the additional

year,’ the white paper said. ’We want to avoid a situation in which the

tobacco advertising money now spent on billboards gets shifted into

printed advertising for a further year.’



Most tobacco sports sponsorship will end by July 2003, but global events

such as Formula One racing will have until July 2006 to find alternative

backers.