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IQOS and GLO to fall silent: Advertising of gadgets for smoking disappear in Ukraine

Author : Olena Holubeva

Source : 112 Ukraine

The Verkhovna Rada could impose a complete ban on advertisements for smokeless systems and tobacco sticks, which, according to tobacco companies, represent a better and healthier alternative to traditional smoking
11:00, 23 June 2021

Open source

This follows from the text of bill No. 4212, prepared for the second reading, which was at the disposal of 112ua.tv. This version of the document is not yet available on the Rada website.

Related: No cigarettes, no household chemicals: Do's and don'ts of Ukrainian supermarkets during lockdown

About 300 parliamentary amendments were submitted for the second reading, according to most of which bans on advertising and promotion apply to an alternative to traditional smoking - the popular smokeless systems IQOS, Lil solid, and Glo.

Advertising under ban

The initiative envisages changes to Article 22 of the Advertising Law in relation to electronic cigarettes and liquids that are used in them. The authors of the document are convinced that products for consuming tobacco without burning it are no less harmful than electronic cigarettes. Therefore, it is necessary to extend the prohibition of advertising to them.

Related: Ukrainian tries to smuggle cigarettes to Poland, gets caught

What is prohibited:

Any advertising and promotion of sales of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, liquids that are used in electronic cigarettes, devices for consuming tobacco products without burning them, tobacco-containing products for electric heating.

It is prohibited to place tobacco products, packaging of tobacco products, and models of tobacco products in retail outlets.

It is prohibited to advertise and promote on television, in scientific, popular science, reference, literary and artistic publications, publications for children and youth, publications for organizing leisure and recreation, sports, by means of internal advertising on transport, advertising on the Internet, including social advertising, is prohibited. and other digital networks.

An exception is websites for adults, the prerequisite for access to which is the prior identification of the user's age.

Note that now self-limitation of brands for age categories occurs on a voluntary basis. According to the amendments to the second reading of the bill, it is proposed to approve the list of websites, the majority of the audience of which are persons over 18 years of age. This will be done by a central government body specially authorized by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Related: Why cigarettes are becoming more expensive in Ukraine?

Free distribution, including for marketing research and tastings, exchange of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, liquids is prohibited.

It is forbidden to send advertising messages by mail, e-mail, messages to mobile phones.

It will not be possible to sell tobacco-containing sticks with advertising inserts (users often find tiny attachments in the pack, which contain the address of the site where they can buy products, order accessories and new smokeless gadgets).

Related: National Operator in tobacco market to be created in Ukraine

Any form of permitted advertising must not create the belief that smoking or alcohol consumption, the use of electronic cigarettes, the use of devices to consume tobacco products without burning them, is an important factor in achieving success in sports, social, sexual or other areas of life. And also - helps to solve personal problems.

Ads should not give the impression that most people smoke or consume alcoholic beverages, e-cigarettes, or tobacco heating systems. Should not give the impression that smoking, drinking alcohol or electronic cigarettes is a normal habit for most people. It is not clear how to determine whether an advertisement creates an "impression" or does not create, arouses a conviction or not.

Sponsorship of TV shows, radio broadcasts, theater and concert, sports and other events is prohibited.

Advertising of any goods or services must not contain images of tobacco products or the process of smoking tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, liquids.

This means that promotional materials of this kind will have to disappear.

Related: Toilet paper, tobacco and weapons: What do people buy during coronavirus hysteria?

The circulation, demonstration and rental of cinema, audio, video, radio and television products, materials on electronic media of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and heating systems are prohibited. Image on television and in audiovisual works in cinemas, in video production. This point, by the way, caused the most discussions. There are concerns that the ban could extend to the screening of most movies, including classics, which feature scenes of tobacco use.

It is possible that such a radical turn of events should not be expected. But if the norm is approved, it is unlikely that Ukraine will be able to repeat the course of the Russian IQOS PR specialists, who shot a film with real users and turned this event into a global event. In the frames of the film, images of the gadget are unobtrusively present.

One of the most controversial points prepared in the bill for the second reading is a ban on the media from providing any services to manufacturers of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and tobacco heating agents.

Tobacco companies respond to the change

Natalya Bondarenko, Director of External Relations of Philip Morris International Ukraine, emphasizes that communication with clients about "less risky smoking methods" will be limited. Gintautas Dirgela, director of corporate relations and communications at JTI Ukraine, expressed concern that a ban on commercial relations with the media for tobacco companies could turn into a ban on holding press conferences on any occasion.

Allegedly, the companies will not even be able to tell the media about the fight against the illegal trade in cigarettes, from which Ukraine annually loses 674 million USD. Or about an educational campaign in shops and kiosks against the sale of cigarettes to minors. Although we note that the cooperation of companies with the media is still possible without mentioning them.

Also, tobacco workers complain that they will not be able to place job advertisements in the media.

Related: British American Tobacco company changes Kyiv to Bucharest because of Government's Policy

According to the All-Ukrainian Advertising Coalition, if the bill is passed, the advertising market could lose 10-15% of its annual revenues, which last year amounted to $ 875 million. tricks. They will lose a significant part of advertising revenues and media, including those that appear only on Internet sites.

Is the new initiative useful for Ukrainians?

The fight against the propaganda of addictions is an important issue, but will it have the desired effect until minors are not protected from buying products from illegal immigrants? In parallel with the introduction of restrictions on the advertising of tobacco-containing products and gadgets, it is necessary to develop measures to suppress illegal trade in these products.

But the most controversial issue in the debate is whether such bans are justified - how much alternative smoking methods are actually harmful to human health. The explanatory note to the bill notes that to date there are no independent studies on the impact of electronic cigarettes on public health, including in the long term.

"The results of some studies that have been published to date indicate that when using e-cigarettes, the level of certain toxic substances that are released is several times higher than in regular cigarettes. Some scientists say that e-cigarette smoke can be carcinogenic and increases the risks of heart disease, lung cancer, can cause pneumonia, and increases the risk of developing the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," an explanatory note to the bill reads.

It should be noted that the explanatory note does not provide arguments in favor of the possible harm and danger of tobacco heating systems, since before the second reading and the introduction of parliamentary amendments, advertising prohibitions applied only to electronic cigarettes. It is hoped that the arguments of the opponents of this mode of tobacco use will be presented in the session hall. Proponents of the direction believe that, on the contrary, it is less harmful to smokers due to the absence of a combustion process, during which harmful chemical compounds are released.

Related: Every month Ukraine loses 120 mln USD due to tax evasion in tobacco market

Obviously, the Ukrainian authorities must finally decide on the issue of their attitude to the alternative to traditional smoking and form a final position on this matter. Indeed, in parallel with the introduction of restrictions on advertising, the taxation of heating tobacco is growing.

According to the norms of Law No. 466-IX that came into force, this year the excise taxes on heated tobacco have undergone the most radical changes - they have increased immediately by 320%. Sticks will become much more expensive than cigarettes, which are only 20% more expensive. HEETS, for example, will cost about 3 USD. There is a compromise version of taxation, but its consideration in the Rada for the second reading has been slowed down for a month.

Obviously, Ukraine will have to solve a difficult problem in the issue of traditional smoking and with the help of gadgets. It would be nice to find a balance in this matter.

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