Tobacco advertising & promotion bill will save lives

Wednesday 06 December 2000

6 December 2000­ Immediate release


Tobacco Advertising & Promotion Bill will save lives and must be given highest priority


The tobacco advertising and promotion bill will save three thousand lives a year in the long run, and remains the most significant outstanding item in the government’s public health agenda. “Tobacco advertising increases cigarette consumption and therefore causes more addiction, illness and premature death.   It seems so clever and cheeky, but tobacco advertising is really a seductive long term killer” said Clive Bates, Director of ASH.


ASH reminded the government that a ban on tobacco advertising is one of the few remaining unfulfilled 1997 manifesto commitment sand called for the Bill to be given the highest priority in next session. ASH Director, Clive Bates said: “It’s not enough that the bill has been included in the Queen’s speech. The government must ensure that the bill is given adequate Parliamentary time. Labour made a clear manifesto commitment to bring an end to tobacco promotion. It must honour that pledge as quickly as possible.”


According to the government’s own estimates, banning tobacco advertising will eventually prevent 3,000 premature deaths a year.[1] ,Clive Bates said: “Quite simply,this is a mater of life and death. Advertising increases consumption, resulting in more people becoming ill from smoking-induced diseases and dying prematurely. For every day of delay, eight lives are being lost.” [2]


ASH appealed to the government to announce an early end to tobacco sponsorship of Formula One when it publishes the Bill (expected before Xmas) – Formula One has until July 2006 in the EU directive. Since the government made its initial decision about special treatment for Formula One in October 1997, a flood of new money has entered the sport. On 5 March 1998, Max Mosley of the FIA said that Formula One could phase out tobacco sponsorship by 2002:

[1] The Tobacco (Prohibition of Advertising and Promotion) Regulations 1999 p.16. The Government cautiously estimates that banning tobacco advertising will cause tobacco consumption to drop by 2.5%. The Government concludes “As mentioned earlier, smoking is estimated to kill 120,000 people in the UK each year. A 2.5% reduction in the number killed would mean that about 3000 lives a year could be saved.” 3000 lives per year equates to 8.2 lives per day.

[2] The delayed implementation of a ban on tobacco advertising is due to the ruling by the European Court of Justice which overturned the tobacco advertising directive 98/43/EC on 5th October. The judges ruled that the EU was not competent to ban tobacco advertising unless it crossed national boundaries, such as via television or in publications. Measures to control other advertising, for example, on billboards, must be determined by national governments. Therefore, the UK government is pursuing a national bill through Westminster to ban tobacco promotion within the UK.

[3] The advertising ban will be modelled on the EU directive – this ban all ‘commercial communications whose aim or effect is to promote tobacco products’. This creates a pervasive ban on all forms of promotion and sponsorship, but to deal with practicalities a series of exemptions are specified. For more details see, the ASH publication:


Contacts: Clive Bates, 020 7739 5902 (office) 077 6879 1237 (mobile)