ASA Adjudication on Department of Health t/a East & West Midlands Regional Tobacco Group

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found no violation of the country’s advertising code for a campaign by East & West Midlands Tobacco Group about the dangers of buying “dodgy” (i.e., smuggled) cigarettes. The campaign included two posters and a leaflet with a picture of a rat’s tail with the text “Dodgy cigs may contain rodent dropping, bugs and dirt.” The ASA found that any distress caused by the unpleasant imagery in the campaign was outweighed by the risk of using illicit tobacco. As a result, the campaign did not violate the advertising codes related to responsible advertising, decency, or fear and distress.