Yesterday, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the United Kingdom gave merit to a complaint filed by pressure group Action on Smoking and Health and charity Cancer Research UK, challenging the advertisements ran last year by Japan Tobacco’s Gallaher brand. According to the ruling, the ads printed in a number of British newspapers were “misleading” and should not be used any further.
The advertisement centered on Gallaher’s argument against the adoption of plain cigarette packs. A line that became rather controversial was the one that stated: “the policy was rejected in 2008 because there was no credible evidence.” The ASA said this line would have readers believe that the government has abandoned the proposal on plain cigarette packing with no plans to reconsider it. According to the ASA, however, from what it understands, the government is keeping its options open and that the measure is continuously under review. “We therefore considered that the claims in the ads that the policy had been ‘rejected’ in 2008 because of a lack of credible evidence gave a misleading impression of the position and action taken at that time by the government,” it said.
For its part, Japan Tobacco said in a statement that it was “disappointed” with the decision of the ASA. Nevertheless, they announced that they will comply with the decision even though they do not agree with it. Meanwhile, reports have been circulating that Britain will introduce plain packaging this year and will make public of this decision in May.
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