Marketing Bans

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Call To Action

Governments should implement comprehensive TAPS (Tobacco advertising promotion and sponsorship) bans in order to protect children, youth, non-smokers, former and current smokers alike.

Total number of bans on direct and indirect tobacco advertising, 2012; out of a possible 14 bans listed in TYPES OF BANS

Comprehensive TAPS bans on direct and indirect tobacco advertising, sponsorship and all other forms of promotion are effective at reducing population smoking rates. Partial restrictions are less effective in reducing smoking because tobacco companies redirect their marketing efforts to available venues. Voluntary agreements are also inadequate because they are unenforceable. Countries that introduced complete bans together with other tobacco control measures have been able to cut tobacco use significantly within only a few years.

Tobacco companies have opposed the removal of tobacco retail displays, arguing this would compromise retailers’ safety, increase retail crime, reduce retailers’ income, impose additional costs and be inconvenient. These arguments have successfully delayed policy development in several jurisdictions.

Tobacco companies have become ever more creative in their attempts to lure new consumers into addiction. New use of media, social media, brand stretching, product placement in movies/films and TV programs, event promotion, retailer incentives, sponsorship and advertising through international media, cross-border advertising, internet advertising, and promotional packaging are some of the ways that the tobacco industry circumvents the intent of simple bans. Legislation should include bans on all forms of direct and indirect advertising and sponsorship.

Bans deny the tobacco industry one of their tools to recruit new tobacco users to replace those who have quit or died, to maintain or increase use among current users, to reduce a tobacco user’s willingness to quit, and to encourage former users to start using tobacco again.

Comprehensive TAPS bans protect youth from the onslaught of tobacco marketing in sports, music venues, the internet, and elsewhere, and help reduce the social acceptability of smoking and tobacco use.


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Types of bans: Direct

Number of countries with specific bans on tobacco promotion

Only 10% of countries have introduced comprehensive bans.

Types of bans: Indirect

Number of countries with specific bans on tobacco promotion

Only 10% of countries have introduced comprehensive bans.

In 41 countries, smoking prevalence was REDUCED 5% WITHIN 3 YEARS in countries with a ban on direct and indirect marketing, in contrast to 3% that only ban direct advertising, and 1% that introduce a partial ban.

Advertising is critical to our ability to expand the geographical presence of our brands and sustain their premium image.’ -Philip Morris, 1993

Definition of Direct and Indirect Advertising

DIRECTNational and international television and radio Local and international magazines and newspapers Billboard and outdoor advertising Point-of-sale and internet advertisingINDIRECTFree distribution of tobacco products in the mail or through other means Promotional discounts Band stretching: Non-tobacco goods and services identified with tobacco brand names Brand sharing: Brand names of non-tobacco products used for tobacco products Product placement: Appearance of tobacco brands or products in television and/or films OR appearance of tobacco products in television and/or films Sponsored events Corporate social responsibility programs

The cigarette industry has been artfully maintaining that cigarette advertising has nothing to do with total sales. This is complete and utter nonsense. The industry knows it is nonsense. I am always amused by the suggestion that advertising, a function that has been shown to increase consumption of virtually every other product, somehow miraculously fails to work for tobacco products.’

Germany’s Incomplete TAPS ban

Incomplete bans allow the tobacco industry to utilize other media to continue to promote their product.

“Obviously I am very much against anything that tries to reduce consumption of a legal product that is used by adults.” -Gareth Davies, chief executive of Imperial Tobacco, commenting on a proposed advertising ban in the United Kingdom, 1997



Potter B. Tobacco chief to fight advert ban. Daily Telegraph. 15 May 1997.

“If we do not close ranks and ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, adolescents and young adults will continue to be lured into tobacco consumption by an ever-more aggressive tobacco industry.” -Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the WHO, 2013

TAPS Policies

Number of countries with varying degrees of advertising bans

Only 10% of the world’s population is covered by complete bans on all tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship at the highest level of achievement at the national level.

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