Parliament discusses ban on tobacco advertising

Parliament is scheduled to discuss a bill limiting tobacco advertising before the end of the year. The general feeling among politicians is not too strongly opposed to smoking - many of them, including the Prime Minister, are heavy smokers themselves. Among the countries seeking EU membership, the Czech Republic is the only state to have asked for exemptions from standard EU tobacco taxation. Foreign Minister Jan Kavan said that otherwise, cigarette prices in the Czech Republic would have doubled once the Czech Republic joined the EU. This would have caused the inflation rate to rise and the poorest citizens would have been hit the hardest. Olga Szantova asked the well known expert on smoking, Dr. Eva Kralikova whether the bill limiting tobacco advertising, if passed, would reduce the number of Czech smokers.

"The old law is from 1955 and it bans TV advertising and there are restrictions in radio from 6 am until 10 pm."

Those are the only restrictions?

"Yes, those are all the main restrictions."

And the new bill would forbid tobacco advertising wherever children could come in contact with it?

"Yes. For example billboards with tobacco advertising should be at least 300 meters from schools. This is something that absolutely does not work. And, unfortunately, if you read this bill, you can see, black o white: This was accepted on the basis of recommendations of the tobacco industry. There are several remarks like this, stating that something has been included on the basis of materials from the tobacco industry. Maybe we should mention that advertising is aimed on children in the age of around 12 or 13. You know, if you have some advertising, any kind of advertising, you can never say it is not for children, because children see all that is happening."

Is there more cigarette advertising and tobacco advertising in this country than in other European countries?

"It differs. In Germany there is no ban on tobacco advertising, but most member countries of the European Union would not allow most kinds of tobacco advertising. Concerning the EU, the situation is somewhat complicated. The majority of member states have implemented a ban on tobacco advertising in their national legislation, or they are in the process of accepting this, like the United Kingdom, so it is very hard to understand why the European Union is not supporting a total ban on tobacco advertising. They say - you should implement your own restrictions, in your own national legislation and I hope our members of parliament will hear to this and accept this advice."

Author: Olga Szantová
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