MP seeks ban on tobacco adverts

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Indy Politics
AN ATTEMPT to embarrass the Government over its refusal to support a ban on tobacco advertising is being planned by Kevin Barron, Labour MP for Rother Valley.

Mr Barron, who came third in the ballot of MPs for the right to introduce backbench legislation, said yesterday he would be introducing a Bill to ban tobacco advertising.

In spite of a commitment in the White Paper Health of the Nation to reduce smoking, the Government is opposed to a statutory ban. Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for Health, will oppose a European- wide ban at the European Council of Ministers on 13 December.

Mrs Bottomley is planning to limit tobacco advertising on shop fronts and in women's magazines.

However, health department officials are privately pointing the blame at the national heritage department for not taking a more robust attitude in seeking to ban tobacco sponsorship for sports such as motor racing and snooker.

Mr Barron's Bill will have no chance of reaching the statute book without government support, but he said yesterday it would put more pressure on the Government to act. 'There is ample evidence that a ban on tobacco advertising would reduce smoking, and the deaths and diseases it causes,' he said.

Mrs Bottomley has secured Cabinet support for a voluntary strategy. Kenneth Clarke announced a rise of 11p on the duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes in the Budget. He said: 'I believe that the approach we are adopting in Britain is the most effective way to reduce smoking.'