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Friday, 18 January, 2002, 12:27 GMT
Fresh move to ban tobacco ads
Teenagers smoking
Young people cannot be targeted by cigarette adverts
As a private member's bill to ban tobacco advertising is debated in the Lords, BBC News Online looks at the two sides of the argument.

Separate moves to ban tobacco advertising and increase regulation of manufacturers have government support and could be on the statute book this year.

Anti-smoking campaigners claim the advertising ban is vital and will save lives.

But the tobacco industry says the move is excessive and could lead to a price war and increased consumption.
Countries with Total Advertising Ban
New Zealand

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill, introduced by the Liberal Democrat Lord Clement-Jones, has been debated for the final time by a Lords committee.

It would extend the current EU law against broadcasting adverts to cover all media and sports sponsorship.

Those sports deemed 'international', such as Formula One motor racing - and possibly darts and snooker - would receive a few years' grace.

'Save 5,000 lives'

The bill is almost identical to one introduced by the government in the last session but which ran out of time and was then controversially left out of the last Queen's Speech.

As well as the EU legislation, there are voluntary agreements in this country, enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority's Cigarette Code, which restrict the content and location of adverts.
An estimated 4-5,000 lives could be saved by banning adverts
Cigarette smoking is in decline

Other countries have already adopted a total ban and Canada has reported success in the use of graphic pictures on packets to shock people into giving up.

But this bill has been welcomed as a robust measure by campaigners.

David Reed, of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), told BBC News Online: "Price is a more important constituent than advertising, but we estimate a 4-5% decline in tobacco consumption if advertising were banned.

"Government figures on tobacco-related deaths suggest this amounts to 4-5,000 lives saved a year.

'Stalinist measure'

"So it's a very, very powerful measure, although other factors such as peer pressure and parental example are strong influences.

"Advertising conveys respectability, normality and acceptability for the product."

But David Swan, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, said although the industry was not against regulation, this bill denied people a basic right to information.
Cigarette Code prevents ads from
Targeting under 18s
Showing cigarettes in the mouth
Associating relaxation or health
Implying masculinity or femininity
Implying sexual or social success

He said: "There's no evidence that consumption will be reduced by an advertising ban.

"Brand advertising is about competition and about different companies competing for a market share which has been falling since 1972.

"There's a valid economic argument which says without the ability of different products in the consumers' minds, then the companies might start to compete on price and consumption would go up.

"So it could be counter-productive."
Frank Dobson MP
Dobson want 'secrets' out

A separate private member's bill by Frank Dobson MP calling for greater regulation of the industry is scheduled for its last reading in the Commons on Friday.

It would require all tobacco companies selling products in the UK to publish all of their scientific and marketing research, to inform smokers of the dangers of their habit and reveal company tactics.

Mr Swan said it was "anti-competitive and Stalinist" because commercially sensitive research would have to be divulged.

A Department of Health spokesman told BBC News Online the principles of both bills had full government support.

See also:

02 Nov 01 | UK Politics
New assault on smoking ads
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