ASH warns of tobacco companies’ stealth tactics

The Action for Smoking and Health (ASH) anti-smoking group is warning the Government not to allow tobacco companies to switch their advertising budgets into stealth marketing, following the ban of traditional advertising due to come into effect later this year.

Speaking after The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill received an unopposed third reading in Parliament this week, Amanda Sanford of ASH says: “There is a very real danger that tobacco manufacturers will continue to market through back-door tactics – providing financial support for websites, which covertly promote smoking, for instance.”

ASH warns that tobacco companies are searching for ways to exploit any potential loopholes. For instance, ASH has a leaked internal British American Tobacco (BAT) memo, outlining how the tobacco giant had put £2.5m into citygobo.com, a website guide to clubs, bars and restaurants. This would not be banned under the current legislation, as long as there was no advertising for cigarette brands on it.

The new bill outlaws all above-the-line advertising for tobacco products. Direct marketing and sales promotion will also be outlawed, as will brand-related websites. The only form of marketing that will be allowed is in-store, point-of-purchase material.

Tim Lord, chief executive of industry body the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, says: “The industry will absolutely comply with legislation. None of our members would do something that is illegal.”

The exact details of the ban will be set out in a list of regulations, a draft version of which the Department of Health published recently.

Consultation on this draft closes on November 15.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

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

THE BEST CONTENT

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.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

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.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

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 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

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