The Queen's Speech: Tobacco Advertising - Beginning of the End for Cigarette Industry

Article excerpt

Anti-smoking groups were rejoicing after the Government included plans in the Queen's Speech to ban tobacco advertising and promotion.

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill is expected to be given high priority and rushed through before Christmas.

Experts say the law, which applies to all forms of tobacco and not just cigarettes, will save an estimated 3,000 lives a year.

Professor Gordon McVie, director general of the Cancer Research Campaign, said: 'It heralds the beginning of the end for the tobacco industry in Britain.'

But the Tobacco Manufacturers Association said the legislation was unnecessary and hinted at the possibility of a legal challenge to stop it.

Although the details are yet to be published, the Bill broadly mirrors a previous European Union directive on banning tobacco advertising.

This was overturned by October's European Court of Justice ruling, which ruled that the EU had no right to ban tobacco advertising unless it crossed national boundaries, as in the case of TV adverts, newspapers and magazines.

Measures to control other advertising, for example on billboard posters, had to be determined by national governments, the judges decided.

As a result, the UK Government embarked on a new strategy of introducing a national Bill to ban tobacco advertising and promotion within the UK.

Formula One motor racing and World Cup Snooker are expected to be exempted from the ban until 2006 to allow them to find alternative sponsorship.

Clive Bates, director of the anti-tobacco group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said: 'Quite simply, this is a matter of life and death. …