Tobacco ad ban: new research shows importance of water-tight laws

Friday 02 March 2001

Embargo: 00:01 Friday 2 March 2001



Tobacco ad-ban ­ new research shows importance ofwater-tight laws.


Tobacco companies are reaching underage smokers through sophisticatedmarketing schemes which may escape the Government’s tobacco advertising ban ifthe industry can insert enough loopholes in the legislation, according to a newstudy published today in the British Medical Journal.[1]


The study, conducted by Strathclyde University for the Cancer ResearchFund and the Department of Health, investigated 15 year olds’ involvement inthe tobacco industry’s marketing and promotional campaigns. The researchersfound that, of those 15 year olds who smoked, more than half had participatedin tobacco marketing of one form or another. As well as billboard and magazineadvertising, this marketing ranged from free gifts offered by coupon schemes topromotional mail sent by tobacco companies to the teenagers’ homes. Tobaccocompanies have been campaigning for the right to keep doing this when a new banon tobacco advertising becomes law.


John Connolly, ASH’s new specialist on tobacco marketing said:


“This research sends important messages to theGovernment as they introduce a ban on tobacco advertising. Whatever theGovernment does, it must make sure that the legislation going throughParliament leaves no loopholes for the tobacco companies to exploit andcontinue to market cigarettes at young smokers. This also shows, if any moreproof was needed, that voluntary restrictions on tobacco advertising just don’twork. The sooner the ban becomes law, the sooner the number of people dyingfrom smoking will fall.


“With a general election looming, the Governmentmust make sure that this legislation, which was after all a manifestocommitment, is not lost through lack of time. An advertising ban would preventat least 3000 smoking related deaths per year ­ the same as the total numberwho die on the roads.”



This research follows a study published on Tuesday in Tobacco Controlwhich showed that on-screen smoking by role models in Hollywood filmsinfluenced the smoking behaviour of teenagers.[2]


[1] MacFadyen, Hastings & MacKintosh (2001): Crosssectional study of young people’s awareness of and involvement with tobaccomarketing. British Medical Journal Vol 322, 513-7 | available at: <ahref=”http:”” cgi=”” content=”” abstract=”” 322=”” 7285=”” 513″=””><spanlang=en-us style=”font-size:9.0pt;font-family:Arial;mso-ansi-language:EN-US”>


[2] See ASHpress release about this story 27/2/01. <spanlang=en-us style=”font-size:12.0pt;font-family:”Times New Roman”;mso-ansi-language:EN-US”>


Contacts: <spanstyle=’font-family:arial’>ASH Clive Bates: 020 7739 5902 (office) 077 6879 1237(mobile)

John Connolly: 020 7739 5902 (office) 0774 0705867 (mobile)

(ISDN available)