Ban on tobacco ads won’t work

A ban on tobacco advertising has clearly taken on symbolic importance for everyone involved in the war against smoking and as a result some important arguments have been overlooked.

Government has a responsibility to educate people about the health risks of smoking but banning the promotion of a legal product is a step too far. A ban would set a precedent that could extend to other products such as alcohol, fatty foods and fast cars.

Health professionals claim that a ban will reduce the number of young people who smoke, but all the evidence suggests that teenagers start smoking because of peer pressure and a desire to appear “grown up”. Advertising has nothing to do with it. Advertising was banned in the old Soviet Union but that didn’t stop a large proportion of the male population from smoking.

Most importantly, prohibiting tobacco advertising will be counter-productive. It will remove all those government health warnings from thousands of billboards, magazines and newspapers and, as a young smoker myself, it is those warnings – not the obscure images featured in the advertisements – that stick in my head.

Josephine Graffikin


London SW1

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here