Anti-smoking groups are demanding that the Government make it a criminal offence for tobacco marketers to mislead retailers about point of purchase (PoP) advertising, after the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill comes into force next year.
Judith Watt of lobby group Smoke-Free London says that when Australia passed a similar ad ban ten years ago, tobacco companies lied to retailers about what PoP was allowed. She says: “The Government must address that issue now.”
The actual details of the ban are being drawn up: interested parties had until the beginning of last week to respond to a draft version. The draft put the burden of conforming to the law – as far as PoP is concerned – on individual retailers.
Action for Smoking and Health director Clive Bates adds: “Manufacturers should also be responsible for removing and disposing of all the tobacco-branded PoP material which will be banned under the regulations. Why should retailers face those additional costs?”
The Bill received Royal Assent on November 7. Last week, public health minister Hazel Blears announced that tobacco advertising on posters and in newspapers and magazines will be banned from February 14. In-pack promotions and most direct marketing will be banned from February 14, 2004. She added that responses to the public consultation on the regulations for PoP advertising, brand-sharing and sponsorship were being considered and specific dates for banning these would be announced later.