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Today is World No Tobacco Day : LETHAL BUT LEGAL

30 May 2013 08:11 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Manjari Peiris

This year’s theme focuses on the need to ‘Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS)’

People’s right to live free from harm and addiction overrides the financial interests of the tobacco industry.
We should not forget the fact that every cigarette deletes seven minutes from a smoker’s life. In Sri Lanka 60 people die a day due to use of this lethal, but legal product.
The entire tobacco industry frequently uses marketing strategies to circumvent advertising restrictions, such as:
  • Sports and music event sponsorship
  • Pack designs and displays
  • Branded merchandise
  • Product placement
  • Alleged ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ activities
  • New media technology campaigns

Comprehensive bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship on tobacco products must be periodically updated to take account of innovations in industry tactics and media technology.

Comprehensive bans would significantly reduce the industry’s ability to market the product to young people who have not started using tobacco and to adult tobacco users who want to quit.

The industry often argues that outright bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship are not necessary and that voluntary codes and self regulation are sufficient. But they are unenforceable. They do not cover tobacco retailers and fail to prevent point-of-sale advertising or displays, some of the most common and insidious forms of marketing.



Bans on direct advertising should cover all types of media, including print, broadcast, billboards and outdoor advertising, and the internet.

Legislation should cover cross-border advertising such as international television and internet sites and sponsorship of international sporting and cultural events. It should also cover price discounts, free product giveaways and other promotional strategies.

Bans on product display lead to reductions in youth smoking and impulse purchases among adults wanting to quit.

Since advertising bans on tobacco products are highly effective in reducing tobacco use, the industry strongly opposes them and claims that bans restrict its right to free speech, including the right to promote a legal product. The counter arguments to negate these claims are:

  • Assert the right and duties of governments to protect the health and rights of citizens.
  • Governments do so as part of consumer protection laws, to minimise health and economic damage caused by tobacco, decrease overall consumption and uptake among youth.
  • Tobacco use kills nearly six million people each year. Unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to more than eight million worldwide by 2030. Studies have shown that tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is the driver of this global epidemic.
  • The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of the World Health Organisation states – (Article 13) that a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS), would reduce the consumption of tobacco products.
  • Partial bans will simply result in the tobacco industry shifting resources to non-banned TAPS. Therefore adoption of a comprehensive ban on all direct and indirect forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship by each party is vital.

All media players and platforms should be covered comprehensively.

Voluntary codes proposed by the tobacco industry should be rejected.  

The terms ‘advertising’, ‘sponsorship’ and ‘promotion’ should be carefully defined.

Ensure that the ban covers promotion originating in and entering a country. Substantial penalties on those who breach the ban should be imposed. Announce the ban well in advance of implementation.

Opposition from the tobacco industry and other groups should be monitored, and the ban as required to include innovations in industry tactics and media technology should be amended. Civil society should be engaged in monitoring the TAPS ban.

A comprehensive ban on all advertising and promotion reduces tobacco consumption by about 7 per cent, independent of other interventions. Some countries have seen consumption drop by as much as 16 percent following the advertising ban.

Comprehensive bans on direct and indirect advertising, promotion and sponsorship protect people – particularly, the youth from industry marketing tactics and can substantially reduce tobacco consumption.

The majority of smokers begin smoking at the age of 12 or 13, or even younger in some parts of the world. And how many of them know that cigarettes contain radioactive isotopes, or cyanide, or arsenic, lead, pesticides, or free-basing agents like ammonia, artificial flavourings, moisturizers, added to juice up the potency of nicotine?

Moreover such bans significantly reduce the ability of the tobacco industry to market to young people who have not started using (potential users) tobacco and to adult tobacco users who want to quit.

The best results of comprehensive bans could be achieved by following the international best practices outlined in the guidelines for implementation of Article 13 of the FCTC.

Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship applies to all forms of commercial communication, recommendation or action and all forms of contribution to any event, activity or individual with the aim, effect, or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product or tobacco use either directly or indirectly.

The two main scientific evidences made by The National Cancer Institute (USA), in 2009, in a comprehensive review of tobacco related research with 63 expert reviewers stated that there is a causal relationship between tobacco advertising and promotion and increased tobacco use and that comprehensive bans reduce tobacco consumption, but partial bans only lead to greater expenditure in ‘non-banned’ areas, resulting in no net reduction of tobacco use.

The report also found that generally tobacco advertising and promotion exhibits three main themes, viz., providing satisfaction (taste, freshness), reducing fears about the dangers of tobacco use (mildness)  and creating associations between tobacco and desirable characteristics (social success, sexual attraction, thinness etc.).
See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 


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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 


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