ASA Adjudication on Gallaher Ltd (A12-208266)

A series of print ads by a tobacco company claimed that the British government had rejected a proposal to require plain packaging of cigarettes in 2008 due to lack of evidence. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found the tobacco company ads to be misleading because the word “rejected” overstated the government’s actions. Instead, the ASA found that the government had kept the proposal for plain packaging under review to be considered at a later date. However, the ASA found that the tobacco company did back up its claim that there was a lack of evidence in 2008 that plain packaging would prevent young people from starting to smoke. The ASA ordered the tobacco company not to claim that the government had “rejected” the policy of plain packaging for cigarettes in 2008.