LANGUAGE
Last updated: March 4th 2019

Regulated Forms of Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

Domestic TV and radio (including all broadcast media such as satellite and cable)

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

Tobacco advertising on domestic television and radio has been prohibited since 1964 and 1978, respectively. Various regulatory agencies have governed broadcast media in the UK over the years. Current rules are found in the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising, issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), which prohibits advertising that promotes tobacco use or tobacco products. These rules apply to all broadcast media licensed by Ofcom (Office of Communications).

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to domestic TV, radio, and other broadcast media such as satellite and cable.

Law Source, Section
Sections 10.3, 10.4, 10.5

Domestic newspapers and magazines

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The law prohibits the publishing, printing, devising and distribution of tobacco advertisement in the course of a business. In addition, it specifically bans tobacco advertising in a newspaper, periodical or other publication published in the course of a business in the United Kingdom. However, tobacco advertising is allowed if it is within the tobacco trade.

FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines paras. 32 through 34 allows tobacco advertising for the purposes of communication within the tobacco trade. Therefore, the law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to advertising in domestic newspapers and magazines.

Law Source, Section

Other domestic print media, such as pamphlets, leaflet, flyers, posters, signs (not including print advertising at the point of sale)

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

Domestic print media is prohibited with the exception of advertisements inside point of sale at specialist tobacconist shops. Because the point of sale exception is analyzed under a separate category, the regulatory status code of “Banned” is used here rather than “Some Restrictions.” Therefore, the law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to advertising in other domestic print media such as pamphlets, leaflets, flyers, posters and signs. However, to fully align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should ban all forms of printed tobacco advertisements, including in inside specialist tobacconist shops.

International TV and radio (including all broadcast media such as satellite and cable)

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising, issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP), prohibits advertising that promotes tobacco use or tobacco products. These rules apply to all broadcast media licensed by Ofcom (Office of Communications). Because Ofcom has the authority to regulate all broadcasters using the electromagnetic spectrum in the UK, it has the authority to license broadcasts originating outside the UK and broadcast in the UK. All frequencies on TV and the radio are licensed by Ofcom and are subject to the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising. Therefore, advertising on international broadcast media is prohibited.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to international TV, radio, and other broadcast media such as satellite and cable.

Law Source, Section
Sections 10.3, 10.4, 10.5

International newspapers and magazines

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.
Analysis:

The law prohibits tobacco advertising in foreign publications imported into UK and aimed at the UK or European market. However, the law allows tobacco advertising in a publication printed in a country that is not a European Economic Area (EEA) State and whose principal market is not an EEA State. Thus tobacco advertising could appear in publications imported into Scotland in limited circumstance, e.g., a publication printed in Asia and aimed at an Asian market but sold in Scotland.

Because the law restricts the importation of international newspapers and magazines that contain tobacco advertising, the law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines para. 52, which states that “Parties should make use of their sovereign right to take effective actions to limit or prevent any cross-border tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship entering their territory.” However, to fully align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should contain provisions to ban tobacco advertising in all international newspapers and magazines, regardless of the country of origin and principal target market.

Internet communications

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.

Internet communications (not sales)

Analysis:

The law prohibits tobacco advertising via the internet aimed at the United Kingdom or European market. However, the law allows tobacco advertising via the internet if it is published by a person who does not do business in a European Economic Area (EEA) State and whose principal market is not an EEA State. Thus tobacco advertising could appear on an internet website accessible in Scotland but not aimed at the United Kingdom or European market. For example, an internet website in Bahasa Indonesia aimed at the Indonesia market could be accessed in the United Kingdom and could contain tobacco advertising.

Although the law restricts but does not prohibit all tobacco advertising on the internet, the law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines para. 52, which states that "Parties should make use of their sovereign right to take effective actions to limit or prevent any cross-border tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship entering their territory." However, to fully align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should contain provisions to ban tobacco advertising in all international internet communications, regardless of the country of origin and principal target market.

Internet tobacco product sales

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.
Analysis:

Domestic internet tobacco product sales are allowed; however, cross-border internet sales are restricted.

With regard to domestic sales, the TAPA 2002, as amended by Section 4(5) pf the TAP (Amendments) Regulations 2006 (adding section 4(1B)), excludes the sale of tobacco products by internet from the definition of an advertisement. Therefore, the internet sale of tobacco products and their display on websites are allowed. The amendments to TAPA contained in the Health Act 2009 (Section 21, adding Section 7D to the Act) authorize the Secretary of State to adopt regulations for display of tobacco products and prices on a website. However, such regulations have not yet been issued.

With regard to cross-border sales, the Tobacco Product Regulations 2016 requires a UK retailer who supplies tobacco products through cross-border distance sales to register with the Secretary of State and to verify the consumer's age prior to sale. In addition, the Regulations prohibit a UK retailer to engage in cross-border distance sales to a country that prohibits such sales.

The law does not align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, which expressly recognize the internet sale of tobacco products as a form of advertising. To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should ban all internet tobacco product sales.

Outdoor advertising (e.g., billboards, posters)

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act (TAPA) 2002 prohibits outdoor advertising under the general prohibition on publication of a tobacco advertisement. The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) (TPMS) Act 2010 amended Section 6 of TAPA 2002 (for Scotland only) to prohibit print tobacco advertising on the outside of specialist tobacconist shops (which were previously exempt), permitting advertising inside their premises only. (See also Section 19 of the Sale of Tobacco (Display of Tobacco Products and Prices etc.) (Scotland) Regulations 2013, which amends the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Specialist Tobacconist) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 to prohibit visibility of advertisements from outside.)

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to outdoor advertising.

Point of sale advertising/promotion

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.

Point of sale advertising/promotion (other than product displays)

Analysis:

Advertising at the point of sale is prohibited in most retail shops; however, limited advertising is permitted in specialist tobacconists. The Sale of Tobacco (Display of Tobacco Products and Prices etc.) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 set out requirements for price lists at retail tobacco outlets.

With respect to specialist tobacconists, the law permits advertising inside specialist tobacconists subject to some restrictions. Advertising is not permitted for cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco and must not be visible from outside the premises. All advertisements must contain a health warning and the quitline phone number.

The current law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to advertising in most retail shops, but not with respect to specialist tobacconists where indoor advertising is permitted. To fully align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, all advertising and promotion at point of sale, including inside specialist tobacconists, should be prohibited.

Point of sale product display

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.
Analysis:

Product display at point of sale is prohibited in large and small retail shops, although permitted, subject to some restrictions, at specialist tobacconist shops, bulk tobacconist shops, and duty-free shops. In specialist tobacconists, product display is permitted as long as the display does not include cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco and is not visible from outside the premises. In bulk tobacconist shops and duty-free shops, tobacco products must be kept in a separate area that is not visible from anywhere else in the store.

The Sale of Tobacco (Display of Tobacco Products and Prices etc.) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 regulate incidental and requested product display and establish requirements for the display of price lists.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to product display in large and small retail shops; however, the law does not align with respect to specialist tobacconists, bulk tobacconists, and duty-free shops because it permits product display at these points of sale. To fully align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, all retail display of tobacco products should be prohibited.

Vending machines

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) (TPMS) Act 2010, Section 9, prohibits the sale of tobacco products by vending machines. This section was originally scheduled to come into effect in October 2011. Implementation was delayed due to a challenge by the tobacco industry, but the Supreme Court upheld the ban on vending machines in December 2012. Pursuant to the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010 (Incidental Provision and Commencement No. 4) Order 2013, the prohibition entered into force in April 2013.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, and meets FCTC Art. 16 (sales to and by minors) with respect to vending machines.

Conventional mail

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The law does not specifically address tobacco advertising through conventional mail. However, the law prohibits tobacco advertisements published, printed, devised or distributed in the UK by a person in the course of a business. This is interpreted as prohibiting publication and delivery of tobacco advertisements through conventional mail.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to conventional mail.

Law Source, Section

Telephone and cellular phone

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The legislation prohibits the distribution of a tobacco advertisement in electronic form by a person who doing business in the UK. This is interpreted as covering telephone and cellular phone communications. Further, the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code) prohibits advertising that promotes tobacco use or tobacco products. These rules apply to all broadcast media licensed by Ofcom (Office of Communications), which includes mobile phone providers.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to tobacco advertising and promotion by telephone and cellular phone.

Law Source, Section
Sections 10.3, 10.4, 10.5

Brand marking on physical structures

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.

Distinctive words, designs, images, logos, sounds, or colors to promote tobacco products in entertainment venues, retail outlets, on vehicles and equipment, or other physical structures (brand marking on physical structures, other than on tobacco product packaging and labeling and print material)

Analysis:

The law prohibits the use of any non-tobacco product or service of any images, logos or emblems associated with a tobacco product. Thus, brand marking is prohibited.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to brand marking.

Free distribution of tobacco products

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The law specifically prohibits the free distribution of any tobacco product to the public in the United Kingdom.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines and meets FCTC Art. 16 with respect to the free distribution of tobacco products.

Promotions with a tobacco product purchase

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.

Promotional discounts, gifts, prizes, rewards to consumers in conjunction with a tobacco product purchase (e.g., buy one pack, get one free or, key chains, t-shirts, coupons, points)

Analysis:

The law specifically prohibits the distribution of any product or coupon to the public in the United Kingdom if the purpose or effect of such distribution is to promote a tobacco product. Therefore, offering or distributing promotional discounts, gifts, prizes, and rewards to consumers in conjunction with a tobacco product purchase is prohibited.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to promotional discounts, gifts, and prizes.

Competitions associated with tobacco products

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.

Competitions associated with tobacco products or brand names, whether requiring the purchase of a tobacco product or not

Analysis:

The law prohibits sponsorship agreements whose purpose or effect is to promote a tobacco product in the United Kingdom. The definition of “sponsorship agreements” is broad and covers any agreement where a party makes a contribution, regardless of whether it is financial or in-kind. Because competitions associated with a tobacco product would entail an agreement where a tobacco company lends it name, such a competition would violate the provision prohibiting sponsorship agreements that promote tobacco.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to competitions associated with tobacco products.

Direct person to person targeting of individuals

Allowed
There is no ban and there are no restrictions whatsoever applicable.
Analysis:

Direct person-to-person communication does not appear to be covered by the general prohibition in Section 2 of the Advertising and Promotion Act 2002, as person-to-person communication does not necessarily involve publishing, printing or distributing an ad or transmitting it in electronic form. Therefore the regulatory status “Allowed” is given.

To aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit all forms of direct marketing.

Brand stretching/trademark diversification

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.

Non-tobacco products or services using tobacco brand names or carrying a brand logo or other brand indicia (brand stretching)

Analysis:

The law prohibits the use of any name, logo, or other feature of a tobacco product in connection with any non-tobacco product or service, if the purpose or effect of such use is to promote a tobacco product. Thus, brand stretching is prohibited.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to brand stretching.

Reverse brand stretching or brand sharing

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.

Tobacco products or services using non-tobacco brand names (reverse brand stretching or brand sharing)

Analysis:

The law prohibits the use of any feature associated with a non-tobacco product in connection with any tobacco product or service, if the purpose or effect of such use is to promote a tobacco product.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to reverse brand stretching.

Toys that resemble tobacco products

Allowed
There is no ban and there are no restrictions whatsoever applicable.
Analysis:

The law does not prohibit the sale of toys that resemble tobacco products.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit the sale of toys that resemble tobacco products.

Candy that resembles tobacco products

Allowed
There is no ban and there are no restrictions whatsoever applicable.
Analysis:

The law does not prohibit the sale of candy that resembles tobacco products.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit the sale of candy that resemble tobacco products.

Retailer incentive programs

Allowed
There is no ban and there are no restrictions whatsoever applicable.

Retailer incentive programs (e.g., rewards to retailers for achieving certain sales volume, enhanced displays, etc.) or other payments to encourage them to sell tobacco products

Analysis:

The law exempts from the advertising ban communications made in the course of business that are part of the tobacco trade. As a result, retailer incentive programs are allowed under the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002.

The law does not align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines. To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, all forms of tobacco promotion should be prohibited, including retailer incentive programs.

Paid placement of tobacco products in TV, film or other media

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.
Analysis:

The Product Placement Regulations prohibit product placement in UK-made TV and on-demand programs of any tobacco product including electronic or smokeless cigarettes, tobacco accessories such as lighters and cigarette papers or pipes intended for smoking.

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act (TAPA) 2002 can be interpreted as prohibiting tobacco product placement in other types of media under the general ban on tobacco advertising, which includes a prohibition on distributing a tobacco advertisement in electronic form.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to paid placement of tobacco products in TV, film, and other media.

Unpaid depiction of tobacco use or tobacco products in media that does not serve a legitimate purpose

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.

Unpaid depiction of tobacco use or tobacco products in TV, film or other media that is not legitimate journalistic, artistic, or academic expression or legitimate social or political commentary

Analysis:

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act (TAPA) 2002 does not apply to unpaid depiction because the definition of advertising applies only to dealings in “the course of business.” However, the Ofcom Broadcasting Codes provides that in TV programs aimed at children, smoking must not be featured, condoned, encouraged or glamorized unless there is strong editorial justification. Therefore, the regulatory status “Some Restrictions” is given.

To align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should specifically address unpaid placement of tobacco products in accordance with FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines paras. 29-32.

Tobacco industry sponsorship of events, activities, individuals, organizations or governments

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.

Financial or other sponsorship or support by the tobacco industry to events, activities, individuals or groups (e.g., groups involved in sports, the arts, politics, charitable or welfare, or other activities, or youth smoking prevention programs)

Analysis:

The law prohibits sponsorship agreements if the purpose or effect of anything done as a result of the agreement is to promote a tobacco product in the United Kingdom. A sponsorship agreement is defined as an agreement in which “a party to it makes a contribution towards something, whether the contribution is in money or takes any other form (for example, the provision of services or of contributions in kind).” In practice, the law is interpreted as prohibiting sponsorship by the tobacco industry when accompanied by the promotion of a brand of tobacco products. Other sponsorship, however, is allowed. To fully align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to financial or other contributions, the law should prohibit any form of sponsorship that has the aim, effect, or likely effect of promoting tobacco usage, in addition to tobacco products, directly or indirectly.

Publicity of financial or other sponsorship or support by the tobacco industry if tobacco sponsorship is not banned

Some Restrictions
There is not a complete ban on the listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship, but one or more limits on the form applies.
Analysis:

The law prohibits sponsorship agreements if the purpose or effect of anything done as a result of the agreement is to promote a tobacco product in the United Kingdom. A sponsorship agreement is defined as an agreement in which “a party to it makes a contribution towards something, whether the contribution is in money or takes any other form (for example, the provision of services or of contributions in kind).” In practice, the law is interpreted as prohibiting a sponsorship agreement when accompanied by the promotion of a brand of tobacco products. However, other publicity, such as use of the company name if unrelated to a brand, is allowed. To fully align with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines, the law should prohibit all tobacco sponsorship and publicity thereof.

Promotion by any means that are false, misleading or deceptive

Banned
The listed form of tobacco advertising, promotion & sponsorship is completely banned.

Promotion by any means that are false, misleading or deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about a product's characteristics, health effects, hazards or emissions (covering any term, descriptor, trademark, emblem, marketing image, logo, color and figurative, or any other indicia)

Analysis:

The Standardised Packaging Regulations prohibit on tobacco product packaging any element or feature that "promotes a tobacco product or encourages its consumption by creating an erroneous impression about its characteristics, health effects, risks or emissions" or "suggests that a particular tobacco product is less harmful than others." This provision, taken together with the general ban on advertising and promotion, provides for a ban on all promotion by means that are false, misleading, deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about a product's characteristics, health effects, hazards or emissions.

The law aligns with FCTC Art. 13 and the FCTC Art. 13 Guidelines with respect to prohibiting misleading tobacco advertising and promotion.