Tobacco companies are breaching their voluntary code on advertising
and sponsorship at least twice a month, according to new evidence that
suggests they are throwing caution to the wind in the face of the Labour
Government’s proposed ban on all tobacco advertising.
The Committee for Monitoring Agreements on Tobacco Advertising and
Sponsorship found 30 direct breaches of the industry’s voluntary ad code
in the past year, compared with 15 the year before.
The breaches included 19 examples of tobacco posters placed near
schools, a practice outlawed at the start of 1996, and the failure of
companies to update health warnings on some of their ads.
Frank Dobson, the Secretary of State for Health, said this week: ’These
figures illustrate the weakness of the voluntary agreement. The time is
clearly right for a legally enforceable ban on advertising - the status
quo is unacceptable.’
The revelation comes at the same time as evidence of tobacco companies’
rising spend on outdoor. For the four months from April to August,
advertisers spent 28 per cent more on packaged poster campaigns than in
the same period last year, but this was boosted by heavy spending by
Rothmans Royals to promote a new pack size.
Tobacco companies agreed to reduce their outdoor adspend by 40 per cent
two years ago. Between January and August, they spent pounds 4.4 million
on packaged campaigns, compared with pounds 5.6 million for the whole of
Nigel Mansell, the managing director of the outdoor specialist, Concord,
said: ’The high level of spending seems to suggest that tobacco
companies are playing out their cards before the ban.’
This article was first published on Campaign