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Health Insight August 2002: Tobacco advertising ban nearly there

  A bill outlawing advertisements in magazines, newspapers, on the internet and on billboards is currently going through parliament. If passed by MPs, the bill will come into effect ‘by the end of 2002’. The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill won government backing earlier this year. It has completed all stages in the House of Lords and is expected to be given final approval by MPs when they return from their summer recess.

Under the plans, tobacco companies will also be stopped from sponsoring sporting events. However, as expected Formula 1 racing and other ‘global sporting events’ will be given until 2006 to find alternative sources of funding. Public Health Minister, Hazel Blears, said, ‘A ban on tobacco advertising and promotion is an effective measure we can take to stop young people from starting to smoke…Research shows that an advertising ban could eventually save up to 3,000 lives a year.’

Over 120,000 smokers kicked the habit in the last year after receiving help from NHS smoking cessation services in the last year. The government spent over £53 million on the services up to March 2002. In 2002/2003 a further £20 million will be invested, plus a substantial amount for smoking cessation aids available on NHS prescription.

Source: Press release (DoH), BBC Online

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