The promotion of tobacco products in Romania often breaches the national legislation on this kind of advertising with a lack of specific warnings or the placement of ads in banned areas. Using slogans that are apparently unrelated to smoking, advertising banners are placed in the near vicinity or even in schools and faculties.

Law 148/2000, advertising is banned in Romania for alcoholic drinks and tobacco products within the areas of education institutions, medical assistance units and in their vicinity.

But as it can be seen within the compound of the Agronomy Faculty in Bucharest, two banners present the new offer from Kent, the British American Tobacco brand, which do not promote smoking but bear such slogans as “smooth transmission” and “true: performance”.

Close to the spot, another banner - for L&M, the Philip Morris brand: “Get Smooth&Get Going”, it says. Which may be read as: smoking helps you get smooth and win a scooter every day to get going to classes.

The same happens to other places across Bucharest, near schools and academic institutions. And they all may be explained simply: the existing legislation, while banning such advertising, does not provide concrete sanctions for those found to breach it.

Still, starting January 1, 2007, when Romania joins the European Union, any kind of tobacco advertising will be banned. Accoding to Law 147/2004, it will only be allowed in publications targeted to tobacco industry professionals or which are not targeted to Romanian or EU markets.

JTI and Philip Morris representatives could not be contacted by to share their point of view on the issue.

But Adrian Popa, head for Corporate Affairs with the British American Tobacco Company, admitted the mistake of his company.

“Clearly there are posters that are not complying with the provisions of Law 148. They’re our responsibility eventually, but it is very hard to monitor all the locations”, he told

“Regarding the lack of warnings on promotional objects, we cannot say we’ve obeyed the law, but we surely followed the spirit of the law”, he said.

According to statistics from the European Study Program for Alcohol and Drugs (ESPAD), quoted by, 65% of under-16 youth are smoking and 32% of pupils said they had their first cigarette before the age of 14.

Despite warnings, only 13% believe smoking “sometimes” is harmful, but 75% of them believe smoking 20-40 cigarettes a day poses major healh risks.

The same study shows some 72% of the Romanian population aged 14-60 admitted it received cigarette advertisement.