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Cigarette paper ads banned for suggesting smoking is safe

Imperial Tobacco argued that the posters were only meant to highlight changes to the product's packaging.

Cigarette paper ads banned for suggesting smoking is safe

Two adverts for cigarette papers have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for appealing to under 18s and suggesting that smoking is safe.

The posters for Imperial Tobacco's Rizla rolling papers appeared in October 2018. One showed two people dressed as a security safe standing in front of a wall with the word "safe" graffitied on it.

 

The second featured two people with cardboard boxes over their heads standing in front of a wall graffitied with the word "protect".

The ASA upheld four complaints that the ads suggested that smoking was safe.

In its ruling it said: "Because the use of the word 'safe' suggested that smoking was safe, and this could encourage people to smoke or increase their consumption, we concluded the ad breached the code.

"We also considered that the presentation of two people standing in bold coloured cardboard cut-out objects which also corresponded to the colour of the Rizla packaging ... were shown in a playful manner and which was likely to appeal to people under 18."

Imperial Tobacco said the ads were meant to highlight improvements to packaging
Image: Imperial Tobacco said the ads were meant to highlight improvements to packaging

Imperial Tobacco had argued that the ads were intended to highlight improvements to the product's packaging and that given the public awareness of the dangers of smoking it was "unlikely" the average consumer would be influenced to smoke by them.

 

A spokesman for Imperial Tobacco said: "We take our obligations regarding UK advertising laws and the responsible marketing of our products extremely seriously.

"We have co-operated fully with the ASA in support of their inquiries.

"The intention of the advertisement campaign, which is no longer current, was to inform existing adult Rizla users about improvements made to Rizla packaging.

"Nevertheless, we respect the ASA's ruling and take careful note of their assessment."

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