01 January 1999

THE GOVERNMENT has been warned by the Institute of Sales Promotion that its proposed ban on mail promotions targeting known smokers will cause ‘thousands’ of job losses: ‘It’s difficult to see how jobs will not be lost’, said ISP secretary-general Sue Short. Meantime, the Institute’s legal advisor, Philip Circus, took a different tack: not only was the outlawing of direct mail a breach of basic human rights, he claimed, but it could help defeat the gov-ernment’s declared objectives. In an awe-inspiring display of forensic convolution, Circus argued: ‘A lot of information that could be passed on through direct mail by tobacco companies could actually be helpful in meeting the government’s objectives. Now companies won’t be able to tell smokers about low-tar ciga-rettes or other potentially less harmful products.’ [Statutory health warnings apart, can Circus cite the last known case of a tobacco company mailing which in-formed smokers that some of its products were less lethal than others?] The ISP says it will continue to press the government to change its decision.