Magazine article European Social Policy

Tobacco : Commission Faces Resistance to Advertising Ban

Magazine article European Social Policy

Tobacco : Commission Faces Resistance to Advertising Ban

Article excerpt

Four EU member states were on the receiving end of letters of formal notice sent from Brussels on 4 April for non-compliance with the 2003 Directive on tobacco advertising and sponsorship. The warning letters mark the first stage in infringement proceedings by the European Commission, which is concerned by the way in which the Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary and Spain have transposed Directive 2003/33/EC into national law.

The new rules, which were meant to come into force on 31 July 2005, apply only to advertising and sponsorship with a cross-border dimension.

As such, they ban tobacco advertising in print media, on radio and over the Internet, whilst cinemas, billboards and merchandising remain exempt. Television advertising is not included because of restrictions already in place under the TV Without Frontiers Directive.

The Directive prohibits sponsorship for any events or activities which involve more than one member state - including if local events are simply transmitted or broadcast to other countries. As such, all tobacco sponsorship of Grand Prix races and similar international sporting or cultural events should stop.

SPECIFIC CASES

Regarding Spain and the Czech Republic, the main issues for the Commission are clauses contained in their national legislation delaying the entry into force of specific aspects of the Directive. Spain has allowed a 3-year transition period during which motor racing events will not be affected. …

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