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
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
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
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.