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Saturday, 16 March, 2002, 10:22 GMT
MSP considers tobacco move
Scottish Parliament smoker
MSPs are being asked to considers a member's Bill
An MSP who has been leading calls for a ban on tobacco advertising in Scotland said she will drop her bill if the UK Government fulfils a promise to introduce a ban.

Nicola Sturgeon welcomed a decision by ministers to support a ban - but stressed she would await clear signals that it would be implemented before withdrawing a member's bill currently before the Scottish Parliament.

UK Health Secretary Alan Milburn said the government would take Lord Clement-Jones' Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill through the Commons, vastly increasing its chance of becoming law.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon will seek assurances
Ms Sturgeon said she was "delighted" by the announcement, which was also welcomed by Scottish Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm.

The SNP health spokeswoman said: "Obviously I'm delighted that the government finally appears to have moved to support a ban on tobacco advertising.

"They have been dragged into this position by the pressure my bill and the Scottish Parliament has put on them.

"I have always made it clear my preference is for a bill that would cover all of the UK."

Ms Sturgeon said she would seek more information on the government's timescale for implementation before deciding on her bill, which is currently before the health committee.

Endorsing Lord Clement-Jones' bill, Mr Milburn said: "The bill will help deliver the government's commitment to reducing smoking-related deaths from cancer and coronary heart disease and tackling health inequalities.

We have said consistently that the best way of bringing in a ban that was both effective and enforceable was to have UK-wide legislation

Malcolm Chisholm, Health Minister
"The government thinks it is right that legislative time is being made for this bill in the House of Commons."

The proposed legislation will ban press, billboard and internet advertising of tobacco products.

It will prohibit the promotion of smoking through mail shots, coupons and free distribution of cigarettes, and bar sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies.

Like a bill introduced by the government in December 2000, Lord Clement-Jones' bill has included a controversial clause exempting Formula One racing from the sponsorship ban until 2006.

Mr Chisholm said that the move vindicated the Scottish Executive's stance to continue to press for effective UK-wide legislation rather than opting for narrow Scotland-only legislation.

He said: "We have said consistently that the best way of bringing in a ban that was both effective and enforceable was to have UK-wide legislation."

See also:

15 Mar 02 | Health
Government backs tobacco ad ban
26 Jun 01 | Scotland
Tobacco ad ban urged
26 Apr 01 | Americas
US may abandon tobacco lawsuit
11 Sep 00 | Health
Smoking addiction 'sets in early'
02 Aug 00 | Health
A global smoking battle
14 Jun 00 | Health
Europe's smoking shock tactics
16 Jul 01 | Scotland
Tobacco ad ban pressure mounts
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