The advertising of processed foods and beverages, pharmaceuticals, tobacco and alcoholic beverages is highly controversial. Contentions stem from allegations of negative impact on health, personal values and economic decisions, particularly in developing countries. Perpetuating controversy are three open questions concerning the impact of advertising on demand, societies′ susceptibilities to advertising, and “truth” in advertising. While these questions remain unanswered, consensus on the issues is not possible. Clarification of issues requires insights from theoretical, historical and economic perspectives. Although governments have adopted numerous remedial measures, variations of the same issues repeatedly emerge in national and international forums. The earliest restrictions on advertising, aside from interdictions on fraud, were health‐oriented and product specific. Since the 1970s, tobacco, alcoholic beverages, food and drug specific, and infant formula advertising have also come under government scrutiny in national and international settings.
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