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Tobacco Ads to Be Banned at Stores

Posted January. 08, 2009 09:43,   


Stronger anti-tobacco measures will prohibit the display of cigarettes and restrict tobacco manufacturers and distributors from sponsoring events.

The Health, Welfare and Family Affairs Ministry yesterday finalized a draft bill dubbed “Smoke Free 2020” comprising a set of long-term anti-tobacco measures. It said imposing restrictions on smokers alone cannot effectively reduce smoking.

The national smoking rate has recently begun to rise again. The ministry plans to reduce the smoking rate to 20 percent by 2020.

According to the draft bill, convenience stores and retailers will be banned from displaying and selling cigarettes over the long run. The ministry is also considering restricting the location of tobacco display stands or keeping customers from looking inside the stand so that they cannot recognize it.

Another measure would require ID when purchasing cigarettes regardless of age.

Tobacco manufacturers and distributors will also be allowed to sponsor events within strict limits. Tobacco companies have been funding a wide range of events, including those involving teenagers, sports and charity, but passage of the bill will likely result in a sponsorship ban on certain events.

Anti-tobacco measures have restricted smoker activities, such as expanding non-smoking areas and penalizing those who smoke in smoke-free areas. Thus, a strong backlash from related businesses is expected as the new measures focus on limiting tobacco suppliers’ activities.

On the expected resistance from the tobacco industry, a ministry official said, “The National Health Promotion Act provides sufficient legal grounds to regulate tobacco.”

The ministry will discuss the draft bill with related ministries, draw up the final plan by March after holding public hearings, and present it to the Cabinet in April.