Tobacco manufacturers deny YouTube links..

August 28, 2010 - Leading tobacco companies have rejected claims they have been bypassing advertising bans by using YouTube. Two tobacco manufacturers, British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris USA (PM USA) have rejected claims that they might have been using YouTube to advertise their products.

The tobacco industry may be using websites such as YouTube to get around a ban on advertising cigarettes, a study finds. Researchers in New Zealand studied the video-sharing site and found a number of pro-tobacco videos "consistent with indirect marketing activity by tobacco companies or their proxies".

PAPER: Pro-tobacco videos have a significant presence on YouTube..
A spokesman for British American Tobacco (BAT), one of the companies behind Benson and Hedges, said: "It is absolutely not our policy to use social networking sites such as Facebook or YouTube to promote our tobacco product brands, and not even the authors of this report claim we have done so.

"Using social media could breach local advertising laws and our own International Marketing Standards, which apply to our companies worldwide. "Our employees, agencies and service providers should never use social media to promote our tobacco brands."

Philip Morris USA, who market Marlboro and L&M, said: "Philip Morris USA does not post cigarette brand marketing videos on YouTube. "In fact, PM USA has communicated with YouTube in the past asking them to remove YouTube video content that it believed infringed on PM USA's intellectual property rights."

The industry has always strongly denied advertising on the internet and a number of companies signed a voluntary agreement made in 2002 that restricted direct advertising on websites.

Reference: With VIDEO - Tobacco Firms Deny YouTube Adverts Link, Lulu Sinclair, Sky News Online, 8/26/2010.

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