DECEMBER 8, 2001
Britain's anti-tobacco legislation hits a snag
THE British Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill has run into trouble in the House of Lords over whether airlines should be allowed to advertise cigarettes or not. The original plan was to ban all tobacco advertising on British airlines but the House of Lords has concluded that this would be discriminating against the UK-based businesses. The government is reluctant to make any new rules which will add problems for the UK aviation industry as a result of the recent drop in business. There are also problems over whether or not cigarette companies are allowed to use their brands on completely different products, specifically clothing, as this is an indirect form of tobacco advertising. The problem with that is that banning the use of cigarette company brand names in other businesses is blocking the growth of new business and as such has to be considered anti-competitive.
The problems being faced in Britain are some of the many issues which will have to be addressed by the World Health Organisation's planned anti-tobacco treaty and it is likely that it will take years to get them all sorted out. If a deal is not found by 2006 the sponsorship of tobacco companies in racing and rallying may continue.