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.”

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.