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Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 10:25 GMT
Sweden pushes for ad ban
Children watching TV
Sweden has a ban on adverts aimed at under-12s
By Liz Blunt

Virtually every country which aims advertising at children also has a lobby group trying to ban it.

Opponents say the adverts for goods like fizzy drinks, chocolate, Pokemon toys and video games encourage children to consume sugary, fattening foods and widen the social gulf between families who can afford the products and those who can't.

And they say it encourages children to pester the life out of their parents every time they go to the shops.

Nearly all European countries regulate advertising to children in some way or other.

But so far only Sweden attempts to ban children's television advertising completely.

This week Sweden, which is the current president of the European Union, is holding a two-day discussion meeting to encourage other countries to follow its lead, and to generate support for a general Europe-wide ban.

Pepsi advert
Opponents say TV advertising encourages children to eat sugary foods
At present British guidelines forbid advertising alcohol, or potentially harmful products to the young.

They also stipulate that the adverts should not mislead children about the size of the products or what they can do - for instance by showing a toy car accompanied by the sound of a real engine.

Greece bans all advertising of toys at times when children might be watching.

One reason the Swedes would like to widen their total ban on adverts aimed at children under 12 is that their own ban has proved far from watertight.

Swedish satellite channels beam children's programmes in from other European countries, complete with the usual highly coloured and infinitely annoying advertisments.

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See also:

06 Jul 00 | Health
Supermarket bans junk food ads
20 Dec 99 | Europe
Swedes toy with advertising ban
24 Apr 00 | Education
Pokémon upsets heads and parents
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