Tobacco Ad Ban to Become British Law
LONDON (AP) - British lawmakers have passed legislation banning tobacco advertising in a bid to cut smoking related illnesses and deaths.
The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill cleared its final Parliamentary hurdle on Monday night, as it passed through the House of Commons unopposed. The government hopes the bill will be enacted by the end of the year.
Junior health minister Hazel Blears said a ban would lead to a cut in smoking, especially among young people. She said tobacco was a "dangerous and lethal substance" that had killed "thousands and possibly millions of people worldwide."
"These are needless deaths caused by an industry which hides the truth from consumers," she added.
The legislation will prevent tobacco sponsorship of British sporting events by 2003 and global sports staged in Britain, including Formula One racing, by 2006.
The main opposition Conservative Party warned that some sports may collapse after losing lucrative tobacco sponsorship deals.
"Nobody is disputing that smoking is harmful. It is, it's a filthy habit, we hate it, we would like it to be rather less prevalent among the population, particularly the young," said spokesman Tim Loughton.
In the United States, cigarette advertising on billboards and public transportation was banned under a 1998 court settlement with 46 states. The agreement also curtailed giveaways of branded merchandise, such as hats with logos, and cigarette samples, and it limited the number of public events such as auto races that companies could sponsor.
Cigarette ads have been banned from U.S. television and radio under federal law since 1971.