Britain delays some tough curbs on tobacco adverts
Britain delayed some planned tough restrictions on tobacco advertising on Monday in what it described as a sensible compromise between the industry and health benfits.
Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour government has faced protests from the industry that thousands of jobs could be lost since it unveiled the plans in June.
``Ministers have considered the responses very carefully with a view to minimising the effect of the regulations on business as far as possible,'' the Health Ministry said in a statement.
``They have today agreed a number of transitional provisions to the regulations. These provisions will give affected companies more time to make the necessary changes.''
The government had said that as part of its clampdown it would ban all billboard, newspaper and magazine advertising from December 10 in a bid to discourage smoking.
The measures were due to take effect almost two years before a European Union ban comes into force in July 2001.
The ministry said that under the new transitional arrangements, current direct marketing contracts would be allowed to continue until the end of the contract or July 1, 2000, whichever was the sooner.
Another was that EU publications carrying tobacco advertising may be sold in Britain until July 2002, subject to a maximum British circulation.
``We have sought to bring in this ban in a way that both maximises the health benefits to be gained and minimises the impact on business,'' said Health Secretary Frank Dobson.
Dobson said in June that the government was taking action to combat the tobacco industry's powerful propaganda to lure people, particularly children, into smoking.
Smoking killed 120,000 people every year in Britain, he said.
The Tobacco Manufacturers' Association said Britons smoked 72 billion cigarettes in 1998 in an industry worth some 10 billion pounds ($16.54 billion).
Tobacco manufacturers spent around 50 million pounds ($82.70 million) on advertising last year.
($1 equals .6046 Pound)