Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters

Voluntary agreement of tobacco advertising

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6980.662 (Published 11 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:662
  1. Peter Middleton
  1. Sales and marketing director Imperial Tobacco, PO Box 525, Southville, Bristol BS99 1LQ

    EDITOR,—I freely admit that Imperial Tobacco was in breach of the voluntary agreement on tobacco advertising in so far as 10 small items of promotional material in Solihull did not carry a health warning, as Wendy Robertson and colleagues report.1 This was regrettable, and when it was drawn to our attention all the items were either removed or replaced. They predated the agreement in January 1983, whereby items of over 260 cm2 at points of sale had to have health warnings, and should have been replaced years ago by our representatives working in the Solihull area. I make no excuse about this.

    I object, however, to the implication that this practice is widespread. Imperial Tobacco takes its responsibilities seriously, and any material that we have produced for cigarettes and handrolling tobaccos that is larger than 260 cm2 and is intended for points of sale has carried a health warning since January 1983.

    With regard to the effectiveness of the voluntary agreements, I can do no better than quote Sir John Blelloch, chairman of the Committee for Monitoring Agreements on Tobacco Advertising and Sponsorship, in his 1994 report: “As I have done in each of my two previous Reports, I would like to record again my thanks to the Committee for their approach to the conduct of business and to the resolution of tasks that have confronted them and to repeat what has been said in the past about the industry's continuing commitment to the letter and the spirit of the Voluntary Agreement.”2

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