EU ad ban: more pointless legal posturing by the tobacco industry

Tuesday 22 September 1998

ASH/ Press releases/


16 Fitzhardinge Street,London W1H 9PL Tel: 0171 224 0743 Fax: 0171 224 0471

Press release22nd September 1998 ASH
Action on Smoking
and Health

More pointless legal posturing by the tobacco industry

ASH expressed dismay at the attempt of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association to pursueits legal challenge to the EU Directive banning tobacco advertising and branded the moveas “a time-wasting and posturing diversion, that would cause unnecessary and damagingconfusion”. ASH is available for more detailed discussion of the technicalities, andmade the following comments:

“They just can’t accept that the European Union, the British Government and alarge proportion of the public want their advertising stopped. All the credible evidenceshows that tobacco advertising increases smoking and is used to nurture smoking inteenagers. People ultimately die as a result of tobacco advertising, and the industrywants to keep it that way.” said Clive Bates, Director of ASH.

“The directive is legally solid” said Bates, “the professional legalservices of the European Council, the Commission and Parliament have all waved thisdirective through. The tactic of spending money on lawyers to create bad publicity hasbeen used all over the world – they simply cannot accept that governments have put publichealth before tobacco profits.”

“If this creates more confusion, it will be the tobacco-sponsored sports and artsthat will lose out. They need to understand clearly that tobacco money will go over thenext few years, and that they will not be rescued by a tobacco-funded diversionary legalaction. They should be looking for new sponsors now, and pay no attention to tobaccoindustry posturing.” said Bates.

The directive 98/43/EC became law on 28th July 1998, when published in the OfficialJournal.


Advertising Directive: summary

  • Bans all ‘commercial communication’ and sponsorship whose aim or effect is to promote tobacco products.
  • Exemptions for internal tobacco trade advertising, imported media not primarily intended for the EU, and at the point of sale (the latter likely to be dealt with in domestic legislation)
  • Advertising for existing non-tobacco products sharing tobacco branding (e.g. Camel Boots) must have distinct appearance – 3 years allowed for change.
  • Advertising for new non-tobacco products sharing tobacco brand names must have distinct appearance.
  • No new tobacco products to adopt non-tobacco brand names.
  • No free cigarettes to be given away.
  • Member States may introduce tougher or additional measures and more rapid implementation timetables Periodic review by the Commission after year 3 then every 2 years with proposals for new measures if necessary.


  • Within 3 years: ban on advertising and promotion except in print media.
  • Within 4 years: ban on advertising in print media
  • Within 5 years: ban on tobacco sponsorship of all events not organised at the world level.
  • Within 8 years and no later than 1 October 2006: ban on sponsorship of events organised at the world level (e.g. F1) on a case by case basis, subject to voluntary world-wide controls and declining tobacco funding.



Contact Clive Bates, Director 0171 224 0743 or 0181 800 1336 (hm), 0468 791237 (mbl best on Sun.)
Amanda Sandford, Communications Director 0171 224 0743 or 0181 257 3501 (hm)

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