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Smoking Swiss government rejects anti-tobacco advert initiative

Young girl smoking

Almost one in three Swiss adults (27.1%) regularly smokes or consumes tobacco in some form; meanwhile, a 2016 poll found that almost 60% of the population believe a total ban on tobacco advertising is necessary. 

(Keystone / Martin Ruetschi)

Switzerland’s cabinet has recommended rejecting a people’s initiative aimed at banning tobacco advertising targeting both minors and young adults.

The country’s executive said on Friday that it wanted to protect young people, but that the initiative went too far.

Currently, tobacco advertising is not allowed on radio and television. The people’s initiative - which was handed in during September after getting more than the 100,000 signatures needed - wants an absolute advertising ban in print media, online, posters, in cinemas and shops. It also aims at outlawing sponsoring by tobacco companies.

+ Read more about the anti-tobacco advertising people's initiative  

In a statement on Friday,external link the government said that the initiative’s proposals were tantamount to a “total ban”. But it said that it was in favour of measures that would better project young people from the dangers of tobacco. 

Law in progress 

In 2016 parliament rejected a first draft law on the issue of young people and tobacco, mostly over planned measures concerning publicity. It has since been debating a new version of the law. 

In September the Senate agreed to ban the sale of cigarettes to minors and put stricter limits on tobacco advertising in print and online media amid growing public pressure and criticism from global health officials. The move wouldhelp bring the country in line with World Health Organisation standards on tobacco control. 

+ Senate votes in favour of tougher tobacco law 

The government said that during the next parliamentary debate – it now moves on to the House of Representatives - it would push for the banning of tobacco advertising at cinemas and on posters. These would largely tie in with the demands of the initiative and make an indirect counter-project superfluous, it added. 

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.

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

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