The Government has toughened up the legislation that will outlaw tobacco advertising in an attempt to stop tobacco companies and agencies getting round the ban by using new platforms such as the internet.
Ministers have added new clauses to the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill to give the Government sweeping powers to prevent the tobacco and ad industries finding loopholes in the law by using 'developments in technology relating to publishing or distributing by electronic means'.
The bill was given a third reading in the Commons on Tuesday night despite Tory criticisms of the Government's decision to cut short the debate.
The measure will now be discussed by the House of Lords and ministers hope it will be approved by Parliament before the general election expected in May.
Yvette Cooper, the public health minister, said: 'It is right to provide for rapid developments in technology. We all know how fast it is moving and how difficult it is for most of us to keep up with the speed of progress.'
E-mails containing ads for tobacco which are sent in the course of business will be outlawed. But e-mails sent by individuals and a display or ad on a website where tobacco products are offered for sale would not be an offence.
The Government will hold talks with the Internet Service Providers Association in an attempt to answer Tory complaints that the new regulations will impose too many burdens on the IT industry.