Tobacco ad ban passes penultimate hurdle – but Hague’s ‘New’ Conservatives are still doing Big Tobacco’s dirty work

Wednesday 22 April 1998

ASH/ Press releases/


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Press release22 April 1998 ASH
Action on Smoking
and Health


Tobacco ad ban passes last but one hurdle – but Hague’s ‘new’Conservatives still doing the tobacco industry’s dirty business


The European Union today moved closer to a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising,sponsorship and promotion. MEPs on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer ProtectionCommittee voted overwhelmingly in favour of the text of the Directive agreed by HealthMinisters in December last year. This committee is the taking the lead in scrutinising theDirective, which will come to a final vote at a plenary session of the European Parliamentin w/c 11 May. If the Committee’s position is accepted by the Parliament, theDirective will become law within the UK Presidency and the process of banning advertisingand sponsorship will begin. This Committee also examined and rejected the opinion of theLegal Affairs Committee which, following intense tobacco industry lobbying, last weekclaimed the Directive was drafted under an inappropriate legal base. The Committee voted36 in favour, seven against and one abstention to support the Directive without amendment.

Clive Bates, Director of ASH said: “We are absolutely delighted: it’s is asound decision by pragmatic MEPs that want to get something agreed and implemented. Thecommittee easily saw through the wrecking tactics of the tobacco industry and supportedthe position already agreed by Health Ministers in December.”

ASH today ‘named and shamed’ the one British MEP that adopted the tobaccoindustry line. Dr. Caroline Jackson Conservative MEP for Wiltshire North abstained fromthe key vote and voted for a series of wrecking amendments tabled by her and German MEPsopposed to the ban. Jackson voted for the Directive when it last came before the Committeein 1992.

Clive Bates of ASH said: “The old Tories were always in the pocket of the tobaccoindustry, but we thought William Hague was trying to clean up their act. I suppose weshouldn’t be surprised to find them siding with the tobacco lobby, but we are verydisappointed.”

“ASH will write to William Hague and ask him to clarify where he stands on tobaccoadvertising before the 11th May vote. We estimate that banning advertising in the EU willavoid around 20,000 smoking-related deaths each year but Conservative MEPs look as thoughthey may vote for these lives to be lost.” said Bates.



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

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