Forest, the pro-tobacco consumer group, will appeal a decision by the ASA that stated that a Department of Health ad is not misleading.
According to Forest the advertisement - which featured a tumour growing as a man smoked a cigarette - was misleading because it was based on a statement that was tentative not categorical.
The ruling yesterday (30 July) followed an 18-month investigation, during which the ASA’s executive team recommended three times that Forest’s complaint be upheld and the advertisement withdrawn.
Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: “The decision is inexplicable. Not only have ASA Council members ignored the advice of their own executive, they have effectively rejected the report of an independent expert commissioned to advise the ASA on this complex issue.
“The Department of Health did everything it could to derail our complaint and were given every opportunity to do so. Despite this the ASA executive upheld our complaint three times. That speaks volumes.”
He added: “We have requested an independent review of the Council’s adjudication because we are determined to challenge this baffling decision.”
The ad had generated 19 complaints.