Tobacco ban covers promotional PR work

The Government’s proposed regulations banning advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products would severely curtail their manufacturers’ PR activities.

The Government’s proposed regulations banning advertising and

sponsorship of tobacco products would severely curtail their

manufacturers’ PR activities.



As PR Week went to press on Wednesday a Department of Health

spokesperson said that companies will not be able to host receptions,

fund community projects, put up web sites, organise photocalls or send

out press releases if these activities are designed to promote

cigarettes to consumers.



Lobbying of government, financial PR and communication with relevant

trades, such as newsagents, are unlikely to be affected.



A key section of the proposed legislation defines advertising as ’any

form of commercial communication with the aim or the direct or indirect

effect of promoting a tobacco product’.



The industry itself is unclear as to the extent to which the ban will

affect their ability to use PR. They will have a chance to put their

arguments and ask for more clarity during the two-month consultation

process on the draft tobacco regulations, which began last week.



Gallaher corporate affairs manager Jeff Jeffery said: ’All of our

methods of communicating to our consumers are being taken away and that

includes PR.’ Gallaher produces Silk Cut and Benson and Hedges.



At Imperial Tobacco, which makes Lambert and Butler and Embassy, general

manager, external affairs Paul Sadler said he believed the Government

was attempting to stop all promotional and marketing activity.



’If you mean by PR that it would have the aim of promoting a product,

then that is affected,’ he said.



Philip Morris, which sells the Marlboro brand in the UK, retains

Burson-Marsteller. Gallaher retains Karen Earl for PR for sponsored

events. Imperial retains Brunswick for financial PR and other agencies

on an ad-hoc basis, including James Reed PR.



Leader, p9.



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