Letter to Campaign about impact of ad ban

Monday 07 June 1999
ASH/ Press releases/

102 CliftonStreet, London EC2A 4HW Tel: (020) 7739 5902 Fax: (020) 7613 0531

The Editor Campaign

By fax:

Action on Smoking
and Health

7th June 1999

Dear editor

Re: tobacco advertising ban

Caroline Marshall is wrong to say that the tobacco advertising ban is to be brought inearly or that the poster industry had been promised more time to prepare for a total ban(Perspective, 28 May 1999).  The advertising industry has been on notice since Labourpublished its election manifesto in 1997 and the Government’s December 1998 WhitePaper, Smoking Kills, stated with complete clarity that tobacco advertising wouldbe banned in 1999.  If the tobacco companies are gearing up their direct mail andother promotional activities, then they are wasting their time.  The purpose of theadvertising ban is to stop it all, and to prevent tobacco marketing budgets simplyswitching from one medium to another.

The idea that if a product can be sold legally it should be legal to advertise is oftenrehearsed, but is based on flawed reasoning.  The legal status of tobacco means youare not arrested for making, selling or using it, but it does not confer any automaticright to advertise.  Far from the advertising ban being a token gesture, it is animportant component of a very substantial anti-tobacco programme with over £100 millionfunding over the next three years including £50 million that Ministers have allocated tonew anti-tobacco media campaigns.

Yours sincerely,

Clive Bates


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