A recent report claims that while Chinese tobacco companies have reduced their advertising in traditional media, they are stepping up their presence on the Internet, according to a China Daily story.
The Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) compiled the report after monitoring 32 television channels, 91 newspapers and magazines, and various Internet media, including commercial websites and micro blogs.
Researchers found that tobacco advertisements were broadcast 117 times on two television channels from May 13 to May 19, figures they compared with those from a 2009 survey that found that advertisements were broadcast 678 times on 19 channels from May 18 to May 24. The television channels that were monitored comprised 15 China Central Television stations, 11 Beijing stations and six provincial stations.
Liu Xiurong, director of the CDCP’s health department, said the television advertisements were indirect promotions because tobacco-product advertisements were prohibited.
A law formulated in 1994 banned tobacco advertisements through five types of traditional media: radio, television, movies, newspapers and magazines.
But the law, Liu said, did not make it clear that indirect advertisements for tobacco brands were also banned; so tobacco manufacturers were taking advantage of this situation.
The report said the print media had been more successful than had television in restricting tobacco advertisements, though the CDCP had found two direct tobacco advertisements.
While tobacco advertising had declined in traditional media, the focus had shifted to the Internet and product placements in movies and television series.
Tobacco companies promoted their products on their websites and micro blogs, and some used micro blogs to form online groups of smokers consuming their products.
Currently there are no regulations on advertising through Internet-based media.