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Germany bans Marlboro 'Maybe' cigarette ads

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10:27 CEST+02:00
Authorities banned a controversial advertising campaign by American tobacco giant Marlboro in Germany on Wednesday, claiming it was too focused on getting young people to start smoking.

Munich authorities said the ad campaign called "Don't Be A Maybe" by makers of Marlboro cigarettes Phillip Morris unacceptably targets teenagers and adolescents.

The English-language campaign features young people being spontaneous, sexy, creative or free - implying that by taking up the harmful habit they have shaken off their inhibitions and stopped being a "Maybe."

The posters, which first appeared on German billboards 2011, consciously encouraged young people to take up smoking, the authorities in Munich found. According to German anti-smoking campaign group Rauchfrei, German smokers pick up the habit at the age of 14 on average.

In one billboard, a young girl pouts and stares defiantly into the camera next to the caption: "Maybe will never be her own boss." In another, a young couple kiss against a wall alongside the words "Maybe never fell in love" and in another, a female model laughs on an open road next to the words: "Maybe never felt free."

The German branch of the American tobacco firm Phillip Morris, which is headquartered in Munich, initially pulled the ads in June 2012 after Munich complained they contravened rules against aiming cigarette advertising at teenagers.

But it was not banned until Wednesday. The global firm said it would challenge the decision which it believed was "without any legal and factual basis." The official ban comes into immediate affect on all posters, flyers and cinema ads.

READ MORE: Maybe not so clever - Marlboro pulls adverts

The Local/jlb

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