Blair on Tobacco: judgement day 4th December

Tuesday 25 November 1997

ASH/ Press releases/


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Press release25 November 1997 ASH
Action on Smoking
and Health

Blair on tobacco – Judgement Day 4th December

Tony Blair today tried hard to convince ASH and other health groups of his anti-smokingcredentials – but we will reserve judgement until 4th December.

The Prime Minister, flanked by Tessa Jowell and Frank Dobson, said that reducingtobacco advertising was a key objective of the wider policy on tobacco. All the groupspresent were at pains to stress the great work that has been done so far and the‘breath of fresh air’ the new Government has brought to the most serious publichealth issue in the world. However, the UK move on Formula One has created much resentmentand encouraged other Member States to seek their own pet exemptions. It is possible thatthe UK could wreck the Directive and that would be a very serious set-back for health forwhich his Government would be responsible.

“We were very impressed by the Prime Minister’s commitment, but action iswhat counts. Judgement day is the 4th December when the UK can make or break the EuropeanDirective banning tobacco advertising”. said Clive Bates, Director of Action onSmoking Health.

The Prime Minister also listened to our arguments against his case for an exemption forFormula One – including the potential for replacement sponsorship, the total inadequacy ofthe proposed world-wide voluntary agreement, and the ability to control tobaccoadvertising at F1 through broadcasting restrictions. When pressed on the case forrestricting broadcasting of tobacco-sponsored events from outside Europe into Europeanhomes – a key concern underpinning the Government’s case for an F1 exemption – thePrime Minister said “clearly, we must look into that.”

“Tony Blair told us the UK would negotiate in good faith, and that means having agood hard look at the arguments he has been using to justify the U-turn on Formula One. Ifhe looks closer he will see they are full of holes” said Bates.

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

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