Jay presses for Government action on tobacco advertising legislation

Baroness Jay, former health minister and architect of the Government’s anti-tobacco advertising stance, has increased pressure on the Government to ban tobacco advertising.

Jay, who as a health minister helped produce the “Smoking Kills” White Paper in 1997, urged the Government last week to “repossess” the draft Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill, which is going through the Lords as a Private Member’s Bill.

Her comment refers to the fact that the Government’s own Bill to ban tobacco advertising failed to get sufficient Parliamentary time during the last session.

Speaking during the Bill’s second reading, she said: “My concluding hope and plea is that the Government will in effect repossess it and take steps to promote its passage.”

Last month, Leader of the House of Commons Robin Cook said that the Government was committed to banning tobacco advertising, but he refused to commit to a timeframe.

The Private Member’s Bill, introduced by Lord Clement-Jones, will go to committee in the Lords on November 16. It will then pass to the Commons, although no date is set.

Jay’s comments come as a World Health Organisation document condemns voluntary standards for tobacco advertising, proposed by tobacco companies, as unworkable.

Members of the Scottish Parliament – who have run out of patience with the Government – are trying to introduce a ban on tobacco advertising in Scotland (MW last week).

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