Public Health England did not recommend the use of face masks as a means of protection from coronavirus. We understood there was very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of clinical settings, and that prolonged use of masks was likely to reduce compliance with good universal hygiene behaviours that were recommended to help stop the spread of infectious diseases (including coronavirus), such as frequent hand washing and avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. We considered that the reference to “coronavirus” in the listing was likely to exploit people’s fears regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Particularly in a context where the relevant public health authority had not recommended face masks as a means of the public protecting themselves from coronavirus, we considered that the ad was misleading, irresponsible and likely to cause fear without justifiable reason.
We concluded that the ad breached the Code.
A good reminder that advertising bans have costs and benefits. I prefer the 1st Amendment which also has costs and benefits.