Ministers reassure advertising bosses on tobacco ad ban

The Government has told the advertising industry it has little to fear from its plans to ban tobacco promotions.

The Government has told the advertising industry it has little to

fear from its plans to ban tobacco promotions.



While ministers admit the proposed ban will have an impact on the

industry, they claim agencies and poster contractors will be able to

limit the damage by finding alternative clients.



The Government’s first statement on the impact of a ban dodges the issue

of whether jobs will be at risk and will disappoint those working on

tobacco accounts.



A report to MPs from the Department of Health said: ’The period between

now and the date the ban comes into force (November 2000) should enable

companies to find alternative clients. The creative success of tobacco

advertising campaigns will ensure that those responsible remain

competitive.’



The report said tobacco accounts for 10 per cent of poster companies’

revenue and up to 40 per cent for some smaller outdoor companies.



’Given that the tobacco industry is already limited in where it may

advertise, tobacco manufacturers are often prepared to pay for prime

sites. These sites would be equally attractive to other clients,’ the

report added.



Following Tory criticisms that Labour had failed to spell out the

effects of a ban on UK industry, the statement was rushed out on the eve

of a crucial meeting on Thursday of European Union health ministers

concerning the EU’s directive to outlaw tobacco advertising.



Prospects of an agreement rose when the UK dropped its demand for an

indefinite opt-out for Formula One racing. But Government officials said

many issues remained unresolved and the meeting was ’too close to

call’.



Story, p10.



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