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Banning Advertising Unhealthy Products and Services in Iran: A One-Decade Experience

Authors Abachizadeh K, Ostovar A, Pariani A, Raeisi A

Received 4 May 2020

Accepted for publication 8 July 2020

Published 31 July 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 965—968


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto

Kambiz Abachizadeh,1,2 Afshin Ostovar,3 Abbas Pariani,4 Alireza Raeisi5

1School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; 2Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; 3Osteoporosis Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; 4Health Deputy of Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran; 5The Persian Gulf Tropical Medicine Research Center, The Persian Gulf Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran

Correspondence: Afshin Ostovar Tel +98 21 81454235

Abstract: During the past decade, Iran’s health system has attempted to prohibit advertising of unhealthy products and hazardous services. Considerable success has been achieved in the fields of public places and print media advertisements. Conversely, efforts were not effective enough in the fields of TV and radio advertisements. Over the last three years, the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education has published a list of unhealthy products and services on an annual basis. The list has been developed using a criteria-based mechanism, and compared to the previous list that was developed based on the consensus of the main stakeholders. This approach resulted in a significantly shorter list that consisted of three groups: 1) a number of unhealthy food products, 2) some cosmetic products and services, and 3) all tobacco products. We suggest that future strategies should focus on close monitoring of effective implementation; improving inter-sectoral collaboration; making industries more socially accountable; and increasing public demand for protecting children against exposure to hazardous advertisements.

Keywords: public policy, advertising regulation, unhealthy products, nutrition

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