Glamourising Smoking - the naughty Internet
In its report, ‘Forever Cool’, the BMA challenges the UK Governments to demonstrate their commitment to protecting children’s health by introducing policies that will help reduce smoking prevalence with the aim of making the UK tobacco-free by 2035.
The proposals include calling on film censors to take pro-smoking content into account when classifying films and introducing laws so that all films and TV programmes which portray positive images of smoking are preceded by an anti-smoking advert.
The BMA report shows that despite some of the most restrictive tobacco legislation in the world, young people in the UK are still exposed to creative marketing strategies such as elaborate point-of-sale displays, attractive pack designs and evocative brand imagery – all this serves to reinforce the habit as being ‘forever cool’. There is also very little regulation of the internet which is commonly used by young people....
- Ooops I'm supposed to be regulated by the quacks, "for the childrens sake" (tm)
5.1 Limiting pro-smoking imagery in entertainment media
The evidence base shows clearly that smoking in films is widespread, promulgates a misleadingly positive conception of tobacco use and encourages youth smoking. The research base is less well established for other media, but the precautionary principle compels us to assume that depictions on television and the internet and in magazines will also be influencing young people.
..The internet raises particular concerns in this respect due to the difficulty in regulating the content of websites. There is clear evidence that pro-smoking imagery is very extensive on the internet, and is frequently linked to tobacco purchase opportunities, sex and excitement. This material, including social networking sites and user-generated video sites, is so pro-smoking that senior figures in tobacco control have suggested that the tobacco industry may be behind it.
Sound familiar? No evidence so invoke the "precautionary principle" and use activist smears as evidence that evil multinationals are behind it all. But luckily there is some good news....
The advertising of tobacco products on websites is prohibited by EU directive 2003/33/EC which bans the advertising of tobacco on websites, except for the sole purpose of business-to-business promotion.