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People’s initiative Swiss to vote on tougher tobacco advertising ban

Boxes with initiative signatures, campaigner, banner against tobacco advertising

The boxes with the collected signatures were piled up outside the parliament building before campaigners handed them in to the Federal Chancellery.

(Keystone/Peter Schneider)

Voters are likely to have the final say on a proposal to ban tobacco advertising targeting both minors and young adults in Switzerland.

On Thursday, campaigners handed in more than 113,000 signatures collected (a minimum of 100,000 needed) over the past 18 months for a people’s initiative forcing a nationwide ballot on the issue.

Currently tobacco advertising is not allowed on radio and television. The proposal wants an absolute advertising ban in print media, online, posters, in cinemas and shops. It also aims at outlawing sponsoring by tobacco companies.

Latest official figures show about 27% of people over the age of 15 are smokers. Most of them took up the habit when they were teenagers, according to the campaignersexternal link.

They argue that parliament failed to pass necessary legal amendments in the past few years. The Senate is scheduled to debate a reform of the tobacco law again next week, with a view to  eventually ratifying an accord of the World Health Organization accord on tobacco control.

The initiative was launched by a broad alliance of health groups, sports organisations, doctors and teachers in March 2018.

Parliament is due to discuss the initiative before the government will set a date for a nationwide vote.

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