ASH letter to Spanish Health Minister re Spanish position on tobacco ads in EU



Saturday 20 December 1997

ASH/ Press releases/

 

102 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4HW Tel: (020) 7739 5902 Fax: (020) 7613 0531

Press release20 December 1997 ASH
Action on Smoking
and Health

Health Minister
Dr Jose Manuel Romay Becaria
Ministro de Sanidad y Consumo
Po de Prado, 18-20
E-28014
Madrid

6 October 1997

Dear Dr. Becaria

Re: Tobacco advertsing in Europe: Spanish position

I apologise for writing to you in English, but I have an urgent and important matter toraise. You will be a aware that European governments face an important decision regardingthe future of tobacco advertising in Europe. This will have far reaching consequences forthe health of the people of both Western and Eastern Europe. Now that my own country,Britain, has finally accepted the need to ban tobacco advertising, there is a good chanceto secure a Europe-wide ban on the promotion of this most dangerous and addictivesubstance. To this end, a European Union Directive is currently under negotiation inBrussels.

As far as we are aware, the Government of Spain has always supported the idea ofbanning tobacco advertising and been an important advocate for health and against disease.It was with great concern and dismay therefore that we heard persistent rumours fromjournalists and campaigners that the Spanish Government may alter its position. Ourcontacts have suggested that this change of position would be the result of pressure fromat least one major tobacco company, and related to the negotiations over the privatisationof Tabacalera, Spain’s major tobacco producer. The idea of a tobaccocompany buying influence in this way is utterly disgraceful and if a government surrendersto this sort of pressure there would be outrage throughout Europe.

Though we do not intend to raise this publicly, I hope you can confirmthat these rumours are without substance and that Spain will continue to support effortsto protect the health of Spanish and European citizens by supporting the Directive at theHigh Level Health Group meeting on 7th October and in the Council of Ministers on 4thDecember.

Yours sincerely

Clive Bates
Director

Also sent to: Prime Minister Excl. Sr Don Jose Maria Aznar

ENDS

Contact Clive Bates, Director (020) 7739 5902
Amanda Sandford, Communications Director (020) 7739 5902

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