Labour to delay the ban on tobacco ads in run up to election

Labour's plan to ban tobacco advertising will be delayed for six

months by the General Election and will not take effect until the end of

the year.



The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill, which was due to become law

this summer, was one of seven measures which ran out of time when

Parliament was dissolved on Monday.



If Labour wins the election, ministers would have to reintroduce the

Bill and start again the process of getting it through the Commons and

Lords. Although the measure would be given a high priority, it would be

unlikely to take effect until December.



This week ministers blamed the delay on the Conservative Opposition,

which demanded a 'sunset clause' be added to the Bill as the price for

letting it become law before the election. Under the clause, the ban

would have lapsed after three years if it failed to cut smoking.



Labour offered a compromise under which Parliament would review the ban

after three years, but this was rejected by the Tories.



Yvette Cooper, the Public Health Minister, commented: 'This was clearly

a wrecking tactic by the Conservatives. They have never supported this

bill.'



She accused the Tories of putting the interests of the tobacco industry

ahead of children's health. 'Evidence shows that children as young as

three recognise tobacco advertising and images. Banning tobacco

advertising could save 3,000 lives a year,' she said.



But Liam Fox, the Conservative health spokesman, denied the Opposition

had set out to wreck the Bill.



'All we wanted was an evidence-based approach to see whether a ban was

working,' he said.



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