Ruling reduces anti-smoking task

The major anti-smoking campaign planned by the Government to break this month has been drastically scaled down following the High Court ruling that has delayed plans to ban tobacco advertising.

The major anti-smoking campaign planned by the Government to break

this month has been drastically scaled down following the High Court

ruling that has delayed plans to ban tobacco advertising.



Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which won the task of spearheading the

campaign in a pitch, has seen its pounds 8 million budget for the first

phase of the advertising cut to about pounds 5 million, according to

Department of Health sources.



A television and poster campaign will break around 10 December - the

date at which tobacco ads were due to end until the High Court ruled

last month that the Government had jumped the gun in implementing a

European Union directive.



Ministers plan to spend the withheld pounds 3 million at a later stage

to mark the introduction of the ban. Unless they win their appeal

against the court’s decision, the ban could be delayed for more than a

year.



Ironically, AMV is believed to have snapped up a large number of the

poster sites previously held by tobacco companies who believed they

would no longer need them after the ban came into effect this month.



AMV’s campaign will use the new millennium as a peg, saying there will

never be a better time for people to make a New Year resolution to give

up smoking. In a change of strategy from the Government’s previous work,

it will concentrate on the help available - such as a new telephone

advice line -for people who want to kick the habit.



Although a small number of ads will mention the danger to health, AMV

has decided to reject the shock tactics used in previous work.



The rethink follows evidence showing that many smokers want to give up,

but feel they lack the support and back-up to do so.



The pounds 50 million, three-year blitz is the first anti-smoking

campaign to be run by the Department of Health and Central Office of

Information.



It was previously handled by the Health Education Authority, which has

been retained as an adviser but is no longer responsible for media

buying.



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