The Queen's Speech: Speedy end to tobacco adverts

Queen's Speech: Cigarette Industry
Click to follow
Indy Politics
The Government's plan to ban cigarette advertising as soon as possible has taken the tobacco industry by surprise. Tobacco companies, who spend more than pounds 60m a year on advertising and sponsorship, had been lobbying the Government to phase in a ban over the life of the Parliament.

They had also been hoping that the present voluntary agreement on advertising between themselves and the Government would be used as the basis for the ban because statutory legislation will be harder for any future government to reverse.

The Queen's Speech said a draft bill will be introduced to create "an effective ban on tobacco advertising during this session". There will also be a White Paper in the summer which will look at other means of reducing smoking.

Tessa Jowell, Minister for Public Health, said she was committed to a ban: "This is an essential first step. But controlling tobacco consumption requires a much wider range of measures if we are to have a real impact."

Ms Jowell will hold a seminar in the summer to examine all methods of cutting the one third of the UK population who smoke.

The legislation for an advertising ban will also consider banning tobacco sponsorship of sport. Sponsorship by tobacco companies is worth around pounds 8m a year.

Clive Turner, spokesman for the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, said that tobacco companies use sponsorship to "enhance the corporate reputation of tobacco companies and generate goodwill", not to attract new smokers.

Anti-smoking campaigners welcomed the announcement. "The Government is committed to introducing a Bill this parliamentary session to ban tobacco advertising. We're very happy about that," said a British Medical Council spokesman.