2013: Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship


The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2013 is: Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

A comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is required under the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) for all Parties to this treaty within five years of the entry into force of the Convention for that Party. Evidence shows that comprehensive advertising bans lead to reductions in the numbers of people starting and continuing smoking. Statistics show that banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce tobacco demand and thus a tobacco control “best buy”.

Most countries lack comprehensive bans

Despite the effectiveness of comprehensive bans, only 6% of the world’s population was fully protected from exposure to the tobacco industry advertising, promotion and sponsorship tactics in 2010 (WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2011).

The WHO European Region has the largest percent of countries (77%) that has a ban on national TV, radio and print media as well as on some but not all other forms of direct and/or indirect advertising. However, the WHO European Region is behind most other WHO regions in terms of bans for point of sale and international media advertising, and very few countries had a ban on the majority of all forms of direct and indirect advertising.

Meanwhile, as more and more countries move to fully meet their obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the tobacco industry attempts to undermine the treaty, becoming ever more aggressive, including those to weaken public health efforts to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. For example, where jurisdictions have banned advertising of tobacco products through point-of-sale displays – known as tobacco “powerwalls” – or banned the advertising and promotional features of tobacco packaging through standardized packaging, the tobacco industry has sued governments in national courts and through international trade mechanisms. On the other hand, the tobacco industry uses sponsorship and especially corporate social responsibility tactics to trick public opinion into believing in their respectability and good intentions while they manoeuver to hijack the political and legislative process. Within Europe, the tobacco industry manages to exploit loopholes in tobacco control policy, thus pushing social acceptability and the normalization of tobacco use. For example, the 2011 GATS in Romania showed a new phenomenom of the “promotional girl” who trades a new pack of cigarettes with an old pack, observed by 7% of Romanians.

Objectives of WNTD 2013

Specific objectives of the 2013 campaign are to:

  1. Spur countries to implement WHO FCTC Article 13 and its Guidelines to comprehensively ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship such that fewer people start and continue to use tobacco; and
  2. Drive local, national and international efforts to counteract tobacco industry efforts to undermine tobacco control, specifically industry efforts to stall or stop comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.