Government ad claims spark dispute with tobacco sector

The tobacco industry has attacked government claims that breaches of the voluntary agreement on advertising doubled last year.

The row has broken out following the publication of the tenth report of the Committee for Monitoring Agreements on Tobacco Advertising & Sponsorship (Comatas), which is made up of Department of Health (DoH) and tobacco industry representatives.

According to the DoH’s interpretation, the number of direct breaches of the agreement on advertising is 30, compared with 15 breaches last year.

Former Tory MP and spokesman for trade body Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association John Carlisle accused the Government of distortion because in last year’s report, restrictions on shopfront advertising were not included.

“We have strongly objected both personally and by letter to the Secretary of State for offering misleading figures for political advantage.”

“Zebra Crossing” is the latest execution in the Benson & Hedges “Big Pack” push, and launches this week in the national press and on poster sites around the country. The ad, by CDP, will run for two weeks and aims to position B&H as “the most extraordinary cigarette in the UK”.

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