Pro-smoking lobby group launches anti-ban ad campaign

Smoking lobby group Forest has launched an advertising campaign to put its message across during the public consultation on a proposed smoking ban in public places.

The group has resorted to placing full-page ads in magazines aimed at politicians, journalists and those in the hospitality industry, claiming it has encountered resistance from the news media.

Ads will appear in publications including Private Eye, The Spectator and the New Statesman, as well as hospitality trade magazines such as the Morning Advertiser.

Paper copies of the ads are being sent to all MPs, members of the Welsh Assembly and “opinion formers”.

The ads carry the message that public opinion does not support a total smoking ban.

The executions have been created by freelance designer Eric Gilchrist and placed by Astus UK. They carry a variety of taglines, depending on the target group. Four of the six executions are aimed at politicians, the others at publicans and licensees.

The latest ad, appearing in The Publican, Morning Advertiser and Caterer & Hotelkeeper this week, carries the tagline: “Get rid of the smoke, not the smokers”.

Forest director Simon Clark says the ads have been checked by lawyers before being placed, to ensure they do not contravene legislation outlawing tobacco advertising.

“We are not promoting smoking: we are promoting freedom of choice,” he says.

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