Action on Smoking and Health

Tag Archives: tv

ASH Daily News for 14 August 2018


  • Smoking scenes still common in one third of prime-time TV programmes
  • Research raises questions over long term safety of vaping
  • West Sussex: Shop fined thousands for selling illegal cigarettes
  • Rochdale: Festival goes smokefree


Smoking scenes still common in one third of prime-time TV programmes

A total of 611 programmes, 909 adverts and 211 trailers were analysed for a recent study, which found that smoking remains common on UK prime-time TV despite broadcasting regulations designed to protect children from its glamorisation. Channel 5 was the channel with most tobacco content, while BBC2 had the least.

Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including paid product placement in TV adverts, is illegal in the UK. But imagery of smoking in TV programmes and trailers is exempt, and is instead regulated by Ofcom’s, broadcasting code.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said “’The number of smokers in the UK has fallen significantly since 2010 yet this research finds smoking is just as common on our screens. Given the proven link to childhood smoking Ofcom and the BBFC, which regulate TV and films, need to take the necessary steps to warn parents of the risks and protect our children from the harmful effects of tobacco imagery.”

See also:
Tobacco Control, Content analysis of tobacco content in UK television

Source: Mail Online, 14 August 2018

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Research raises questions over long term safety of vaping

A new study from Birmingham University suggests e-cigarettes can disable the immune system’s ability to clear the lungs and prevent harmful chemical buildups. The research, which was based on lung cells extracted from healthy volunteers who had never smoked, found some of the harms were equivalent to those seen with tobacco smoking.

However, Professor John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham said: “This study demonstrates evidence that lung cells exposed to electronic cigarette vapour become inflamed, as would be expected given that electronic cigarette vapour contains oxidant and other pro-inflammatory constituents. This indicates that long-term use of electronic cigarettes is likely to have adverse effects, as is widely recognised by leading health authorities in the UK including the Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England. However, since electronic cigarettes are used almost exclusively in the UK by current or former smokers, the key question is how this adverse effect compares with that of exposure to cigarette smoke. The harsh truth is that smoking kills, and smokers who switch completely to electronic cigarettes are likely to substantially reduce the likelihood of premature death and disability.”

See also:
BMJ, Pro-inflammatory effects of e-cigarette vapour condensate on human alveolar macrophages
Mirror, Vaping can cause serious lung damage and should be treated with caution, scientists warn
Telegraph, Vaping may damage immune system and lead to lung disease, study suggests
BBC News, Vaping ‘can damage vital immune system cells’

Source: Daily Mail, 13 August 2018

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West Sussex: Shop fined thousands for selling illegal cigarettes

The director of a shop which sold illegal tobacco has been ordered to pay a £2,000 fine, after pleading guilty to four offences relating to the possession and sale of illegal tobacco.

This followed an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards, which visited the shop in the True Blue Precinct in Wick in September last year and seized nine packs of cigarettes from the stockroom and more than 100 packets from a vehicle outside the shop, a Trading Standards spokesman said.

Richard Sargeant, trading standards team manager, said: “We are encouraging people to remain vigilant and to report the sale of illicit tobacco and cigarettes.”

Source: Shoreham Herald, 13 August 2018

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Rochdale: Festival goes smokefree

This year’s Rochdale Feel Good Festival, which will take place on Saturday 18 August 2018, will make its Family Zone smokefree for the first time. Smokefree events are being held across Greater Manchester this summer as areas consider creating more permanent smokefree outdoor areas. The festival will have plenty of information to support healthy communities.

Source: Rochdale Borough Council, 13 August 2018

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Broadcasting guidelines

Regulation Description
United Kingdom
Regulation of e-cigarette advertising and sponsorship on television and radio.
Amendments to the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and the BCAP Code: the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising
These amendments arise from the UK Government’s implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive 2014 and will take effect from 20th May 2016.
The Audiovisual Media Services (Product Placement) Regulations 2010
(External Web Page)
This legislation permits product placement in certain types of TV programme. However, it prohibits product placement in UK-made programmes of any tobacco product including electronic or smokeless cigarettes, tobacco accessories such as lighters and cigarette papers or pipes intended for smoking.
Ofcom Broadcasting Code
(External Web Page)
The Office of Communications (Ofcom) is the regulator for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities for television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. It was established on 29 December 2003.Ofcom replaces the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Independent Television Commission and the Radio Authority.

Ofcom is required by the Communications Act 2003 to draw up a Code or Codes setting standards for programmes, sponsorship, and fairness and privacy.

Protecting children
(External Web Page)
This section of the Broadcasting code includes the portrayal of smoking and other drugs
Broadcast Guidance and Procedures
(External Web Page)
This is to assist broadcasters interpret and apply the Broadcasting code.
Section One (Rule 1.10): Drugs, smoking, solvents and alcohol abuse
(External PDF)
This section gives guidance on the inclusion of smoking and other drugs. It states that inclusion of such substances “at times when children are particularly likely to be listening must be editorially justified”.
European Union
Audiovisual Media Services Directive
EU Council Directive 89/552/EEC (In Force)
(External Web Page)The “Television Without Frontiers” Directive (TVWF) was adopted in 1989 , revised in 1997 and in 2007 became the “Audiovisual Media Services Directive
Overview of the Directives
The original Directive adopted in 1989 comprises a set of protocols that seek to harmonise broadcasting activities of member states. Trans-national broadcasting via satellite necessitates that content of national broadcasts do not prejudice the laws of other member states. Under this Directive, all television advertising promoting cigarettes and other tobacco products is prohibited including indirect advertising.This directive prohibits the advertising of all tobacco products on television including indirect advertising, which whilst not directly mentioning the tobacco product, seeks to circumvent the ban on advertising by using brand names, symbols or other distinctive features of tobacco products.

Article 13 states:

Art 13 ”All forms of television advertising for cigarettes and other tobacco products shall be prohibited.”

This was amended in 1997 (97/36/EC) to ban teleshopping for cigarettes:

Art 13 “All forms of television advertising and teleshopping for cigarettes and other tobacco products shall be prohibited”

The Directive also bans programme sponsorship by tobacco companies:

Art 17. a.2 Television programmes may not be sponsored by undertakings whose principal activity is the manufacture or sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Implemented in England via The Broadcasting Act 1990. Section 93 of the Act in turn confers responsibility for control of advertisements to Ofcom.

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