Project: Establishing a mechanism for tobacco control advocacy
Interim research paper
International Policy Fellowship
The policy analysis of tobacco advertising in Ukraine
The main justification for state regulation of tobacco advertising is the
heavy toll exacted upon people’s health by tobacco use, which annually causes
about five million deaths worldwide, including more than 110,000 in Ukraine.
The magnitude of these deaths justifies taking measures that reduce tobacco
consumption, such as a ban on tobacco advertising. The global experience of
tackling this problem is summed up in the Framework Convention on Tobacco
Control that was recently approved by the World Health Assembly: "Parties
recognize that a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship
would reduce the consumption of tobacco products".
Tobacco advertising is also targeted because of the fact that it promotes
smoking initiation among children and teenagers.
The Supreme Rada (parliament) of Ukraine three times (in 1992, 1996 and
2001) voted for a ban on tobacco advertising. In 2001, the President of Ukraine
was supportive of the ban, but suggested that it be postponed for one year.
Unfortunately, the members of parliament have currently demanded that this
issue be re-opened for discussion.
There are four possible options that address the problem of tobacco advertising
in Ukraine, which can be designated as: 1) the easing of regulation; 2) the
preservation of existing regulation; 3) a toughening of regulation; 4) a complete
ban. After analyzing the consequences for each of these options in regards
to their acceptability for the various interested parties, the following
conclusions have been reached:
· From the point of view of public health, only
a complete ban of tobacco advertising is meaningful, as partial restrictions
of advertising do not reduce tobacco consumption. To decrease the consumption
of tobacco products, this sort of ban should not just consist of a vague declaration
- it needs to cover not only direct but also indirect advertising, and sponsorship
as a kind of advertising.
· From the point of view of advertising businesses,
any of the four options offered will result in a redistribution of resources
between the advertising companies, but will not affect the total amount of
these resources. In order to mitigate the consequences of the ban, it is reasonable
to leave a temporary interval between acceptance of the law and its implementation.
· For mass media any of the offered alternatives
can result only in a redistribution of incomes and influences between various
kinds of mass media. Changing the regulation of tobacco advertising would
not have a noticeable effect, neither upon the total level of their incomes
nor upon the level of their independence.
· The tobacco industry is well aware that advertising
promotes the growth of tobacco consumption and tobacco-related disease, and
in a free market economy it is not capable of quitting its advertising voluntarily,
as advertising brings profits. Therefore, this situation requires state
regulation of tobacco advertising, up to its complete ban.
· The disappearance of tobacco advertising, which
hides the true properties of tobacco products from consumers, will be favourable
for consumers, as they can make their choice more consciously than before.
· Surveys conducted in 1999, 2000 and 2002 have
revealed that almost half of the population of Ukraine supports a complete
tobacco advertising ban, and that a significant part supports the toughening
· A ban on advertising will reduce smoking prevalence,
thus allowing public health resources to be used more rationally. From a long-term
perspective, a complete ban on tobacco advertising is the best way to increase
budget revenues and protect the well-being of the population.
· A ban on tobacco advertising allows the state
to fulfil its constitutional duties of protecting the lives and health of
the people, which is of the highest social value. The preservation of tobacco
advertising even with its restrictions will result in Ukraine being considered
by the international community as a backwards country that does not care about
the health of its citizens.
An analysis of the balance of interests shows that the most acceptable option
for Ukraine is the combination of toughening regulation and a complete ban
on tobacco advertising, which could be called a comprehensive or rational
ban. A rational ban on tobacco advertising means that all kinds of direct
and indirect advertising are forbidden as well as sponsorship, except for
the kinds that are stipulated in the law, such as advertising in special tobacco
shops where access to teenagers is forbidden. This sort of rational ban on
tobacco advertising will be supported by the majority of the population of
Ukraine, will cause a reduction in tobacco-related illnesses and death, and
will protect our children from the tobacco epidemic.