Facebook is the new platform for tobacco giants to promote cigarettes, a new Australian study has revealed, contravening bans and international conventions.
The study, conducted by University of Sydney researchers, has appeared in the British Medical Journal.
"We have gathered here to pay homage to Lucky Strike, the bestest cigarette in the whole widest world," Stuff.co.nz quoted one Facebook page administered by an employee of the tobacco company RJ Reynolds, as saying.
Other Lucky Strike pages displayed images of old and new tobacco adverts alongwith various Lucky Strike tobacco products and merchandise.
The survey also found employees of British American Tobacco Australia also managed such pages.
However, in a statement BAT Australia's managing director, David Crow, defended the company, saying: "It's absolutely not our policy to use social networking sites such as Facebook to promote our tobacco product brands. To do so could breach local advertising laws.
"Our rules mean that employees should not post branded material on social networking sites, blog sites, chat forums or other 'user-generated content' sites such as YouTube - whatever the intention in posting the material may be."
The statement added, "if we find group employees have posted material that they shouldn't, perhaps out of naivety, we will be telling them to remove it".