Tobacco giants seek smokers’ support against ban on ads

The UK’s biggest tobacco manufacturers Gallahers, Imperial and Rothmans UK are for the first time urging their customers to back their lobbying against a Government ban on the promotion of cigarettes.

The manufacturers fear the Government’s declared intention to outlaw cigarette advertising will extend to direct mail schemes, where companies make special offers and operate gift redemption schemes.

Letters are being sent to smokers on the three companies’ existing databases, to warn them that their rights to receive news and offers are under threat and to encourage them to protest to their MP.

In addition, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, an industry body, will send all MPs a booklet called “Cigarette Promotions – The Facts”, outlining its arguments for keeping DM schemes. It follows a TMA video, called “Cigarette Advertising – The Facts”, which MPs received in June.

TMA chief executive David Swan says: “Banning adult smokers from material they have requested on a legal product would be unjustified.”

A Government White Paper on the scope of a future Bill outlawing tobacco advertising and promotions is expected to be published in a month’s time, according to Swan.

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