YouTube the secret home of smoking ads

Tobacco companies have spent a lot of time and money into researching how to get around the World Health Organisation 2005 ban on cigarette advertising, affecting several countries.

One such way around the advertising ban appears to be YouTube.  An Otago University study that looked into 5 major cigarette brands, found that at least 71% of the videos were supportive of smoking or normalised smoking.  Furthermore, users didn’t have to directly search for smoking, but instead it would be paired up with other search terms, such as Marlboro cigarettes appearing in searches for Harley Davidson bikes.

The study found that YouTube doesn’t consider pro-tobacco content as offensive material, so these clips remain on the site.  However, that does not prevent the public from requesting that these videos be removed under the present rules.

The article reports that in New Zealand, the Government had shown it was not willing to put the legal resources to deal with examples of indirect tobacco marketing.

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