FCTC Article 13: Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

From TobaccoUnmasked


Article 13 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recommends measures to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships.[1] According to the FCTC, the ban should cover all types of tobacco advertising and promotion as well as any sponsorship by the tobacco industry. The recommendation for the parties that cannot implement a comprehensive ban due to their constitutional principles is to implement restrictions.[1]

Guiding Principles

Scientific evidence reveals that youth exposed to tobacco advertising hold positive attitudes towards tobacco use. It is also well known that tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships increase tobacco use.[1]


Advertising bans are proven to lead to dramatic decline in tobacco usage among youth and found to deglamourise tobacco products.[1]


According to the FCTC Article 13 implemenation guidelines, an advertisement includes “all forms of commercial communication, recommendation or action and all forms of contribution to any event, activity or individual with the aim, effect, or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product or tobacco use either directly or indirectly.” The recommended comprehensive ban should cover:[2]

  • all advertising and promotion, as well as sponsorship, without exemption;
  • direct and indirect advertising, promotion and sponsorship;
  • acts that aim at promotion and acts that have or are likely to have a promotional effect;
  • promotion of tobacco products and the use of tobacco;
  • commercial communications and commercial recommendations and actions;
  • contribution of any kind to any event, activity or individual;
  • advertising and promotion of tobacco brand names and all corporate promotion; and
  • traditional media (print, television and radio) and all media platforms, including Internet, mobile telephones and other new technologies as well as films.”

FCTC Article 5.3 also recommends to:[2]

  • ban point of sale display and vending machines
  • adopt plain packaging as packaging and product features are important elements of promotion
  • ban internet sales of tobacco products
  • ban brand stretching and brand sharing
  • ban contributions from tobacco companies to any other entity for “socially responsible causes” and publicity given to those contributions
  • prohibit the use of identifiable tobacco brands or imagery in media products and require certification that no benefits have been received from the tobacco industry when tobacco use is depicted in media products
  • define and strictly apply any exceptions allowed for the communications within the tobacco industry

Implementation - Sri Lanka

Section 35 of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Act, No. 27 of 2006 prohibits to “publish or cause to be published, or authorize the publication of, a tobacco advertisement or an alcohol advertisement” in Sri Lanka. Thus, it prohibits:[3]

  • displaying, screening or playing an advertisement or anything containing an advertisement in a in a place or a vehicle in which public have access to
  • insertion of an advertisement in a newspaper, magazine, programme, leaflet, handbill, or other document that is available, or distributed to the public or a section of the public
  • inclusion of an advertisement in a film, video, radio programme or a television programme or through the internet that can be seen or heard or intended to be seen or heard by the public or a section of the public
  • sale, hire or supply or the offer for sale, hire or supply, of the advertisement or anything containing the advertisement to the public or a section of the public.
Image 1: The Billboard of the Movie Adaraneeya Kathavak for which NATA filed a complaint against.[4] (Please see Sinhala Movie "Adaraneeya Kathavak" Accused of Violating the NATA Act for more details)

What is a Tobacco Advertisement?

According to the NATA Act, a tobacco advertisement “means any writing, still or moving picture, sign, symbol or distinctive colours or other visual image or any audible message or any combination of the aforesaid that promotes or is intended to promote:[3]

  • smoking
  • purchase or use of a tobacco product
  • a trade mark of a tobacco product or articles that include tobacco products
  • a brand name associated with a tobacco product
  • the name of the manufacturer of a tobacco product.

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:

The local language translations



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 World Health Organization. Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, 2005, accessed March 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Guidelines for implementation of Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship), Undated, accessed January 2018
  3. 3.0 3.1 National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA), 2010, accessed January 2018
  4. Cinema.lk. Adaraneeya Kathawak Official Teaser Trailer, undated, accessed January 2018