Traditionally, EU laws on advertising applied to print and broadcast media, but as adverts increasingly migrate to an unregulated online world, lawmakers and consumer groups are exploring ways to ensure that digital marketing does not infringe consumer rights.
Smoking, drinking, bad nutritional habits and lack of physical activity are life-style related health determinants linked to a number of major health problems, such as cancer, cardio-vascular disease and obesity.
Advertising relies mainly on self-regulation. Most of the self regulation organisations around the world base their work on the codes prepared and published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The EU is currently struggling on where to draw the line between self-regulation by the industry and government regulation, especially in the field of electronic communications.