An ad featuring actor Vinnie Jones carrying out CPR has been cleared following complaints that he performs the technique incorrectly, a watchdog has ruled.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) TV and internet campaign showed Jones displaying "hands-only" CPR after saying: "There are times in life when being tough comes in handy. Say some geezer collapses in front of you. What do you do? We need a volunteer that ain't breathing."
Two of his associates then slide an unconscious man across the floor to him and he continues: "First off you call 999. I know. Then no kissing. You only kiss your missus on the lips. You push hard and fast here on the sovereign to Staying Alive."
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said 20 people complained that the ad was harmful and likely to encourage unsafe behaviour because they believed it showed incorrect CPR techniques.
The BHF said the campaign aimed to increase bystander intervention in events of cardiac arrest, adding that they knew of 15 reported instances of people applying lessons from the ad with a positive outcome.
The "appalling" survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK showed fewer than 10% of these casualties survived, but research had found people were more likely to start CPR if they only had to carry out the "hands-only" version, the foundation said.
It said chest compressions should be carried out hard and fast for maximum effectiveness, and while that occasionally meant a bystander could injure the casualty during the rescue, a broken rib or bruising was a small price to pay. It was very unlikely the technique would damage children because their ribs were flexible.
Rejecting the complaints, the ASA noted that the ad had been prepared in consultation with the UK Resuscitation Council and in line with European Resuscitation Council guidelines.
It said: "We noted the ad aimed to teach untrained individuals how they could help in situations where CPR was required, noting the on-screen text and voice-over at the end of the ad that stated 'Hands-only CPR. It's not as hard as it looks'. We considered that that made clear the ad was teaching hands-only CPR, and did not believe that trained individuals would consider the messages of the 40-second ad to override their own CPR training.
"Because the ad showed correct techniques for hands-only CPR, we concluded the ad was not harmful and did not encourage unsafe behaviour."