Tobacco Firms Deny Using YouTube For Advertising

A study has suggested that tobacco firms may using sites like YouTube to promote their products, getting around a ban on advertising cigarettes.

Research conducted by the University of Otago, New Zealand, has revealed that tobacco firms are using platforms such as YouTube and Facebook for the indirect marketing of their products, the Metro has reported.

Research suggests that nearly 71 per cent of the content on YouTube was pro-tobacco, advertising brands including Marlboro, L&M, Benson and Hedges, Winston and Mild Seven.

"Tobacco companies stand to benefit greatly from the marketing potential of Web 2.0, without themselves being at significant risk of being implicated in violating any laws or advertising codes," said report.

The study highlights the prevalence of the advertising, despite of an international ban on mainstream tobacco advertising across 168 countries by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since 2005.

YouTube and British American Tobacco have categorically denied such allegations.