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Monday, 2 December, 2002, 16:40 GMT
EU adopts tobacco ad ban
person smoking
There is already a ban on television advertising
The European Union has voted to outlaw tobacco advertising in newspapers and magazines, on the internet and at international sports events.

The restrictions - most of which will take effect from 2005 - were approved by health ministers from 13 of the 15 EU nations.

Unaffected by the ban
Cinemas
Posters
Billboards
Indirect advertising
Print media published outside EU
"Ministers today hit the tobacco industry where it hurts," Health Commissioner David Byrne said in a statement.

Last month, the European Parliament endorsed the proposal, which complements an existing ban on television advertisements, and standardises bans already in effect in various member states.

The ruling was drawn up by the EU's Executive Commission after a court struck down an earlier ban.

The European Court of Justice ruled two years ago that an earlier attempt to restrict tobacco advertising had tended to give Brussels power over health policy, an area reserved for EU member state control.

That case was brought by Germany, which diplomats say is also likely to mount a legal challenge to the new measures.

Cigarettes on sale
Tobacco ads are already banned in nearly half of the EU member states

Under the new rules, tobacco companies will also be barred from distributing free tobacco products as a promotion.

Certain areas remain unaffected by the new ban - posters, billboards, cinema and so-called indirect advertising, such as cigarette logos on clothing.

But the bill does include a ban on the sponsorship of major international sporting events like Formula One racing.

This will come into force a year later than the media ban, in 2006 - the year Formula One organisers had already agreed to voluntarily phase out tobacco advertising.

Opposition

Germany, who voted against the bill, said the proposal went too far, and asked for print media not sold outside the country to be excluded from the ban.


In the EU alone, Big Tobacco needs to recruit 500,000 new smokers each year to replace the ones who die prematurely

EU commissioner David Byrne

Correspondents say the ailing German media market is highly dependent on revenue from tobacco advertising.

Advertising revenues have slumped internationally, due to an economic slowdown.

Magazines published outside the EU, but distributed inside it, will not be affected by it.

Britain was the other country that opposed the bill, saying the measures did not go far enough.

"If there is any gap in the directive, the industry will seek to exploit this," said British Health Secretary Alan Milburn.

In some member states, most of the provisions in the package are already applied.

"In the EU alone, Big Tobacco needs to recruit 500,000 new smokers each year to replace the ones who die prematurely due to smoking-related diseases," said Mr Byrne.

"The measures we agreed today will make it more difficult for them to do that."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Shirin Wheeler
"The two who opposed it were Germany and Britain"
See also:

21 Nov 02 | Health
29 Nov 02 | Europe
22 Aug 02 | Health
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