WHO wants total ban on tobacco advertising

WHO wants total ban on tobacco advertising

Let’s be serious for a few minutes.

The World Health Organization, WHO recently urged governments to protect the world’s 1.8 billion young people by imposing a ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. The article originally publilshed at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2008/pr17/en/index.html is printed below.


  The WHO’s call to action comes on the eve of World No Tobacco Day, 31 May. This year’s campaign focuses on the multi-billion dollar efforts of tobacco companies to attract young people to its addictive products through sophisticated marketing.

Recent studies prove that the more young people are exposed to tobacco advertising, the more likely they are to start smoking. Despite this, only 5% of the world’s population is covered by comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Tobacco companies, meanwhile, continue targeting young people by falsely associating use of tobacco products with qualities such as glamour, energy and sex appeal.

“In order to survive, the tobacco industry needs to replace those who quit or die with new young consumers,” said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “It does this by creating a complex ‘tobacco marketing net’ that ensnares millions of young people worldwide, with potentially devastating health consequences.”

“A ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is a powerful tool we can use to protect the world’s youth,” the Director-General added.

Since most people start smoking before the age of 18, and almost a quarter of those before the age of 10, tobacco companies market their products wherever youth can be easily accessed – in the movies, on the Internet, in fashion magazines and at music and sports venues. In a WHO study of 13 to 15-year-olds in schools worldwide, more than 55% of students reported seeing advertisements for cigarettes on billboards in the previous month, while 20% owned an item with logo of a cigarette brand on it.

But it is the developing world, home to more than 80% of the world’s youth, which is most aggressively targeted by tobacco companies. Young women and girls are particularly at risk, with tobacco companies seeking to weaken cultural opposition to their products in countries where women have traditionally not used tobacco.

“The tobacco industry employs predatory marketing strategies to get young people hooked to their addictive drug,” said Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative. “But comprehensive advertising bans do work, reducing tobacco consumption by up to 16% in countries that have already taken this legislative step.”

“Half measures are not enough,” added Dr Bettcher. “When one form of advertising is banned, the tobacco industry simply shifts its vast resources to another channel. We urge governments to impose a complete ban to break the tobacco marketing net,” he said.

Rob’s Megaphone sends kudos to the World Health Organization for calling for a ban on tobacco advertising.

For further information contact:

Alison Clements-Hunt
Communications Officer
Tobacco Free Initiative, WHO
Telephone: +41 22 791 55 39
Mobile: +41 79475 5551
E-mail: clementshunta@who.int

Stéfanie Laniel
Communications Officer
Tobacco Free Initiative, WHO
Telephone:+ 41 22 791 1018
Mobile: +41 79 475 5524
E-mail: laniels@who.int

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About robertstevenson

Dr. Robert Stevenson is a Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Publications for the Department of Mass Communications and Theater at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He received the Distinguished Faculty of the Year award for 2007-'08, and the Lander University Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2005-06. Stevenson also serves as chair of the Lander University American Democracy Project. First and Formost I am a dad of two wonderful boys.
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6 Responses to WHO wants total ban on tobacco advertising

  1. dani says:

    Awesome !!!! It’s about damned time we try to do something about it.

  2. Joe says:

    As much as an advertising ban would help, product placement is more dangerous. When Sara Jessica Parker is seen smoking, it may be viewed as more socially acceptable than an unknown person in a commercial.

  3. name says:

    Who cares about tobacco, what we really need is a total ban on all advertising.

  4. Praning5254 says:

    This should have been done years ago. Strict implementation should also be observed in order to make this ban effective. Massive campaign must be done and information dissemination on its negative effects on health must be exercised.

  5. OBA says:

    Sorry no comment might incriminate myself

    Smoker here

    Good article though and I am without prejudice

  6. timethief says:

    I cracked up when I read name’s post above. A total ban on all advertising would truly be a a gift to remember.

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