No more free cigarettes for birthdays – tobacco company JTI issues cease-and-desist declaration

30.11.2022 Because the tobacco company JTI distributed Camel brand cigarettes to end consumers free of charge despite a legal ban, Pro Rauchfrei initiated injunction proceedings against both the company and the advertising agency responsible. Following discussions with the association, both companies issued cease-and-desist declarations.

Social media is in. From self-made home stories to professional influencers, there is an increasingly broad field of potential advertising media for companies. The following example shows that you can perhaps unknowingly advertise as an influencer for the tobacco industry. While the advertising of tobacco products has been banned on the internet for years, since the beginning of last year there has also been a ban on the commercial distribution of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco or water pipe tobacco outside of specialist retail outlets.

In July of this year, a video of a user who was delighted to receive a gift pack from Camel appeared on the TikTok platform, which is particularly popular with young people. The company congratulated the woman on her birthday with a free pack of Camel cigarettes. She shared her joy with the whole world and perhaps one or two people found their way to the brand’s registration page.

Following the initiation of corresponding injunction proceedings, Pro Rauchfrei e.V. held talks with the company and the advertising agency responsible. They regretted the situation and stated that it was due to internal communication problems and that the mailing should have been stopped long ago. In the end, both companies issued cease-and-desist declarations under penalty of perjury. It remains to be seen whether this was actually an oversight or whether it was planned to wait for a third party to take action.

Stephan Weinberger, Chairman of the consumer protection organisation Pro Rauchfrei e.V., explains: “We will continue to focus on social media in the future. This is where it has become particularly attractive for companies to draw young people’s attention to disposable e-cigarettes and their ‘trendy’ flavours, for example, and to offer promotions and discounts.”

Stephan Weinberger (Dipl.-Jur. Univ.)
Phone: 089 58808580