Department of Health ‘cancer growth’ ad found to be truthful by the ASA

A Department of Health ad showing a man smoking a cigarette, featuring a growth that grew with each puff, has not been banned by the ASA, despite complaints.

There were 18 complaints from the public, as well as a complaint from pro-tobacco group Forest, that the ad was misleading.

The DoH said the claim was based on published, peer-reviewed scientific papers from well-respected sources and maintained that the genome sequencing already carried out showed there was at least one mutation per 15 cigarettes smoked.

The ASA concluded: “The data suggested that the average number of mutations per cigarette smoked was significantly higher than indicated by the 15 cigarette figure in the ad and we therefore considered that the DH had presented a conservative figure which ensured the claim was not exaggerated.

“Because the ad made a conservative claim, which was supported by the evidence, we concluded that the ad was substantiated and unlikely to mislead.”

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