Tobacco DM wins reprieve until July 2000

The Government made minor concessions over its ban on tobacco advertising this week, but press and poster ads will still be outlawed on schedule in December.

The Government made minor concessions over its ban on tobacco

advertising this week, but press and poster ads will still be outlawed

on schedule in December.



The Department of Health has announced that publications produced in

other European Union countries will be able to carry tobacco ads in

Britain until July 2002, when the EU directive takes effect across

Europe. So will in-flight magazines handed out by non-EU airlines.



Direct marketing of tobacco products, due to end in December, will now

continue until the end of existing contracts, or July next year,

whichever is the sooner.



The Government dismissed criticism of a U-turn by anti-smoking groups,

and stressed that no ads would be allowed on billboards, in UK

newspapers and magazines from December 10 as originally planned.



A Health Department spokeswoman said the changes to the proposed

timetable were ’peripheral’ and Frank Dobson, the outgoing health

secretary, said the transitional arrangements were ’a sensible

compromise between the health benefits which the ban will bring and the

legitimate concerns of industry’.



The Institute of Sales Promotions welcomed the seven-month reprieve for

direct marketing and promotions. Simon Mahoney, its chairman, said the

original December cut-off would have caused ’considerable

difficulties’.



The tobacco industry dismissed the rethink and pressed ahead this week

with its attempt in the High Court to halt the ban. Lawyers for

Imperial, Gallaher and Rothmans accused the Government of jumping the

gun by introducing the UK ban while the directive was still under

challenge in the European Court of Justice.



Jonathan Sumption, QC, said the UK was not obliged to implement the ban

at this stage and should wait until the European Court had ruled on the

validity of the ’highly controversial’ directive.



Live Issue, p12.



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