Advertising from the fossil industry is inherently harmful and misleading. Just as tobacco advertising is. The industry appears unable to stop the deception through self-regulation. It is therefore time for fossil advertising to be treated in the same way as tobacco. With a total ban. The Journal for European Consumer and Market Law says.

In his article Smoke gets in your eyes: misleading fossil fuel advertisement in the climate crisis, university lecturer Clemens Kaupa (VU) argues that all fossil advertisements are misleading because they present fossil fuel or the fossil industry as acceptable and normal. Fossil advertising masks the fact that fossil fuel production must be phased out urgently to meet the Paris target.


"To meet the goal set by the Paris Agreement, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by as much as 45% by 2030. Fossil industry advertising subverts this objective: It stimulates continued demand for fossil fuels, and creates doubts about their enormously harmful effects. Misleading advertising is prohibited under the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, as well as other regulatory instruments.

This article explores under which circumstances fossil fuel advertising must be regarded as misleading, and thus prohibited. Drawing from the example of tobacco regulation it will be argued that advertising is misleading if it "normalizes" a harmful commodity, i.e., if it portrays its production and use as acceptable and normal. It will then be shown that fossil industry advertising systematically "normalizes" fossil fuel products in such a manner, and must therefore typically be understood as misleading."

Kaupa, Clemens, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: Misleading Fossil Fuel Advertisement in the Climate Crisis (February 16, 2021). Journal of European Consumer and Market Law, 1/2021, Available at SSRN: or

An adapted version of this paper was published by Badvertising Sweden, read it here (in Swedish).