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Switzerland, Lengthy a Protected Haven for Tobacco Adverts, Weighs a Ban

ZURICH – The pictures are jarring to guests: glamorous, joyful {couples} smoking collectively in cafes, cigarette packs open invitingly, rugged Western landscapes evoking Man Marlboro.

Whereas many international locations have lengthy banned tobacco promoting, it persists in Switzerland, the place lax laws on the sale and advertising and marketing of tobacco merchandise make the nation out of step with the remainder of the world. nice Western world. Commercials adorn road billboards, are proven in cinemas and ubiquitous at sporting and cultural occasions comparable to Montreux’s well-known jazz competition.

However by the tip of this week, a lot of that might begin to disappear as Swiss voters determine whether or not to put restrictions on tobacco adverts that may successfully ban them from public areas. Will not be.

In accordance with polls carried out by the Swiss media, the initiative is predicted to be handed in a referendum, which has been endorsed by well being advocates, who who cited the findings of companies comparable to World Health Organization that commercials encourage younger individuals to smoke and make it more durable for people who smoke to give up.

“We need to defend younger individuals and guarantee tobacco prevention efforts are usually not undermined by promoting,” mentioned Hans Stöckli, chair of the committee behind the initiative.

Not surprisingly, this initiative was opposed by the tobacco trade but in addition by the nation’s authorities, which maintains an unreasonably pleasant relationship with regionally based mostly tobacco corporations and even world press in Switzerland. The vast majority of members of Parliament additionally opposed it. Lots of them say jobs will likely be misplaced if the referendum is handed, as tobacco ranks on a par with chocolate and cheese as a number of the nation’s commodities. top exporter.

If voters approve the initiative, promoting for tobacco merchandise, together with e-cigarettes, will not be allowed in places or on web sites accessible to individuals beneath the age of 18. .

Whereas it will not be a complete ban, it can symbolize a major change. Switzerland is among the few locations in Europe that has not imposed a nationwide ban on the sale of tobacco-related merchandise to minors. Though some elements of the nation ban gross sales to kids beneath the age of 18 or 16, in others there isn’t any minimal age and in lots of locations younger individuals may be seen wandering round in public locations. add.

Switzerland was unable to ratify the World Well being Group’s Framework Conference on Tobacco Management, regardless of signing it in 2004, due to inadequate funding and promoting restrictions. America has additionally not ratified the conference.

Mr. Stöckli mentioned that even when voters handed the brand new legislation, Switzerland would nonetheless lag behind different international locations in tobacco regulation. He mentioned advocates have targeted on defending kids and younger individuals, reasonably than a full-blown ban, to enhance their probabilities of passing the legislation.

“It is a compromise,” he mentioned, including that he would proceed to push for tighter laws and better taxes on tobacco merchandise, together with e-cigarettes, that comprise nicotine. tobacco extract.

Switzerland has lengthy attracted multinational tobacco corporations. Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco Worldwide have worldwide headquarters within the nation, and British American Tobacco additionally has a robust presence. This area makes use of approx 4,500 people In Switzerland, that features, in response to the federal government, the manufacturing of high-tar cigarettes manufactured or offered within the European Union.

Sunday’s referendum launched a 2015 proposal by the Federal Council, the manager department of Switzerland, for the Tobacco Merchandise Act to ban the sale of tobacco to minors nationwide and limit commercial. Parliament lastly handed an modification invoice that may hold most adverts in place.

In response to the weakening of the legislation, a bunch of greater than 40 well being organizations has launched an initiative to make it more durable, and collect the signatures wanted to place it on the poll. tri.

If Swiss voters reject the initiative on Sunday, the revised invoice would go into impact with out widespread restrictions on promoting.

The initiative additionally consists of restrictions on the supply of free or discounted tobacco merchandise and trade sponsorship of occasions accessible to minors.

Regardless of sturdy help from civil society organisations, the initiative has confronted quite a lot of resistance from politicians in Switzerland.

Mike Egger, a member of the Swiss Individuals’s Occasion and co-chair of a bunch set as much as encourage individuals to reject the initiative, mentioned the proposed promoting restrictions go towards liberal values. of Switzerland.

“The initiative requires a ban on promoting a authorized product,” he mentioned.

Mr. Egger mentioned that the dangerous results of smoking had been well-known in Switzerland, and cigarette packaging had a warning. Cigarette packs carrying each written warnings and grisly photos of diseased physique elements have grow to be commonplace in lots of international locations.

“I imagine individuals can determine for themselves whether or not they need to devour tobacco merchandise or not, and there’s no want for a extra highly effective regulatory celebrity,” he mentioned.

Anti-smoking advocates have additionally accused the Federal Council of favoring the tobacco trade. They level to 1 statement during which the council considers the initiative welcome from a public well being perspective, however that it “should weigh the general public well being advantages towards the financial advantages” and advocates limiting “promoting.” report at a suitable stage for the tobacco trade”.

Within the assertion, the council acknowledged that almost half of people who smoke began the behavior as minors and that tobacco use is chargeable for about 15% of all deaths nationwide. .

Pascal Diethelm, an anti-tobacco campaigner and one proponent of the initiative, mentioned the Federal Council’s assertion was stunning. “That is proof that the federal government has put tobacco management coverage, a public well being coverage, beneath the watchful eye of the tobacco trade,” he mentioned.

“I don’t see some other nation on the earth doing that,” mentioned Mr. Diethelm, pointing to the council rejecting the initiative though it acknowledges that an promoting ban wouldn’t solely profit kids but in addition adults, and cut back the excessive prices related to smoking.

Martin Kuonen, director of Swiss Cigaren, an affiliation that features Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco and British American Tobacco, mentioned the tobacco trade was “totally supportive of the safety of minors” and agreed with the thought of ​​putting out the minimal age to purchase Cosmetics.

Nevertheless, Mr. Kuonen mentioned that the more durable laws proposed by the initiative had gone too far. “It is a de facto ban on promoting, as a result of kids may be uncovered to promoting wherever,” he mentioned. He mentioned the trade strongly opposes this, as “oblique adults may also be affected.”

Mr. Kuonen mentioned that if the general public votes in favor of the initiative, tobacco corporations “should rethink whether or not they need to proceed investing in Switzerland”.

However Mr Diethelm mentioned he doubted the trade would significantly think about uprooting and transferring elsewhere.

“The place ought to they go?” he say. “I do not see any strictly regulated international locations that need them.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/11/world/europe/switzerland-tobacco-ads-vote.html Switzerland, Lengthy a Protected Haven for Tobacco Adverts, Weighs a Ban

Fry Electronics Team

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