Ministers confident that Lords will vote for tobacco ad ban

The Government will bring in a ban on tobacco advertising within 21 days if the House of Lords upholds its right to outlaw tobacco promotion.

The Government will bring in a ban on tobacco advertising within 21

days if the House of Lords upholds its right to outlaw tobacco

promotion.



Ministers are certain that the law lords will approve the ban. They will

then rush through the regulations in the shortest possible time, giving

tobacco companies and agencies just three weeks to pull tobacco

campaigns.



An Appeal Court ruling last month overturned a previous High Court

judgment, blocking the ban on the grounds that ministers had jumped the

gun ahead of a challenge in the European Court to the EU’s directive

bringing in a ban.



Alan Milburn, the health secretary, hoped to end tobacco ads last week

following the Appeal Court ruling. But the court ruled that ads should

continue until the Lords gave the final verdict on the legal action

brought by four tobacco companies.



No date has yet been set for the Lords hearing, but ministers hope

advertising will end within two or three months. They had originally

scheduled the ban to take effect on 10 December 1999.



Milburn said: ’This is a victory for public health. Banning tobacco

advertising is widely supported both by the public and by the medical

profession - now we have the backing of the courts.’



The appeal judges, by a two-to-one majority, ruled it was not for the

courts to interfere with the Government’s decision to implement its

pledge to ban tobacco ads in the interests of public health.



John Carlisle, spokesman for the Tobacco Manufacturers Association,

said: ’We live to fight another day, having lost on a penalty shoot-out.

We are obviously pleased that the decision made by the court was not

unanimous.’



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