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DECEMBER 10, 2003

Australia signs anti-tobacco pact

The Australian government has become the latest - the 79th - to sign the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, committing the nation to not only ban all tobacco advertising but also to encourage other countries to do the same. Australia has had a ban on tobacco sponsorship of sports events since the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act of 1992, which resulted in most forms of tobacco sponsorship disappearing by December 1995. The sponsorship of cricket went on an extra six months to help the sport. The government has since had the right to grant a limited number of exemptions for events deemed to be of international significance by the Health Minister in Canberra. Even this is closely controlled with no peripheral tobacco advertising and promotion allowed and health warnings on the advertising. The governmentis currently looking at a new law which will ban all tobacco advertising from October 2006.