Tobacco Ad Bill published: ASH calls for swift and comprehensive ban to save lives

Thursday 14 December 2000

14 December  2000 ­ Immediate release

The Government today published Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill. ASH Director, Clive Bates, said:

“This will save about 3,000 lives each year, and we can’t afford another moment of delay or doubt in bringing in the advertising ban.”

Despite the positive news, ASH lamented that the government had failed to the use the opportunity to remove the special treatment offered to Formula One and World Cup Snooker:

“There is just no need to give Formula One until 2006, especially when its governing body has already said it could be done by 2002 if necessary. The special treatment will just delay the end of tobacco promotion, and that will have a cost in disease and death.”

ASH warned against the tobacco industry attempting to water down the legislation:

“We have already seen them calling for exemptions for direct mail and brand stretching – but if you allow exemptions like this, the promotional budgets just shift from things that are banned to things that are not banned. To be effective a tobacco advertising ban has to be fully comprehensive.

ASH made a plea for the Tories to come on side and support the Bill. Shadow Health Secretary, Dr. Liam Fox, has said he will support the Bill if he can be convinced that it will have a benefit to health. The evidence is overwhelming and shows that if banning advertising makes even a small impact on consumption, thousands of lives can be saved.

“There is no way the Conservative health team can argue with any conviction that advertising does not increase consumption of tobacco. All the evidence points the other way and where there is doubt, they should protect health before protecting tobacco companies. If the Tories oppose this Bill, they will be playing politics with people’s lives and putting teenagers at risk.

Further information

Text of Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill

ASH Fact Sheet on tobacco advertising (pdf)

Advertising and Promotion section of the ASH web site

ASH 6 December press release on Queen’s speech