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Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 14:01 GMT
Tobacco ads ban from next year
Scottish Parliament smoker
Tobacco advertising will be banned from next year
A ban on tobacco advertising will come into force in Scotland on 14 February next year.

UK-wide legislation outlining new controls on press, billboard and internet advertising was formally given Royal Assent last week.

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act will also prohibit the promotion of tobacco products through free gifts, coupons and mailshots.

Government officials predict the ban will save 3,000 lives a year and reduce National Health Service bills by 340m.

The move was welcomed by anti-smoking group Ash Scotland as "a good Valentine's present".

Mary Mulligan
Mary Mulligan: "Reduce smoking related deaths"
Deputy Health Minister Mary Mulligan outlined the timetable for implementing the ban in Scotland on Wednesday.

She said: "We believe that for a ban to be effective and protect our young people from the influence of the tobacco industry it must cover all forms of advertising and sponsorship.

"This landmark piece of public health legislation will control press advertising, ads on billboards and the internet, as well as brand sharing and sponsorship.

"This will be closely followed on 14 May with an end to in-pack promotion schemes and direct marketing contracts, with the dates for controls on point of sale advertising, brand sharing and the ending of sponsorship being announced in due course.

Opposition pressure

"By banning it in Scotland we can reduce the numbers of Scots taking up the habit, reduce the overall numbers of smokers in the country and reduce the 13,000 deaths and 35,000 hospital admissions due to smoking in Scotland each year."

Ms Mulligan said the ban will also support other measures being taken to help Scots stop smoking.

She added: "While we look set to reach our target of reducing smoking to 33% among adults by 2005, there is still a great deal of work to be done to reduce the incidence of smoking related deaths and disease."

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon pressed for an advertising ban
The Scottish Executive had been under pressure from opposition parties to take unilateral action on tobacco advertising.

Maureen Moore, of anti-smoking body Ash Scotland, said: "What a good Valentine's present for the people of Scotland.

"Banning tobacco advertising will help to reduce the horrendous rates of heart disease in Scotland by cutting smoking rates.

"However, we need to make sure that the legislation is regularly reviewed to make sure that any loopholes that may appear are closed quickly."

Scottish National Party health spokeswoman Nicola Sturgeon had proposed a members bill to ban advertising north of the border.

But the executive refused to endorse her proposal and argues that a UK-wide ban was the best way to achieve results.

Ms Sturgeon dropped plans to pursue her bill when the UK government announced earlier this year that it planned to legislate for a ban.

She maintains that her action was instrumental in forcing the issue at a national level.

See also:

16 Mar 02 | Scotland
22 Oct 02 | Politics
15 Mar 02 | Health
26 Jun 01 | Scotland
26 Apr 01 | Americas
11 Sep 00 | Health
02 Aug 00 | Health
14 Jun 00 | Health
16 Jul 01 | Scotland
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