17 OCTOBER 2001

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Lack of information on tobacco ban freezes sports advertising

Lack of information by Government and the newly proposed bill by the European Union to prohibit tobacco advertising is freezing sports advertising. Rothmans, who offer large sponsorship dealings especially in the football and snooker arena, are not renewing sponsorships.

Mr Ronnie Abela, General Manager of Central Cigarettes producers of Rothmans told The Malta Financial and Business Times that although there is nothing concrete about a law ban being envisaged in Malta, the ban could still come into effect following European accession in the European Union.

"At the moment there’s no ban but the EU, although losing the case at the European court about the ban on tobacco, it is still pushing hard through a new bill to ban tobacco. So we could not reach an agreement with some sports association when there is a possibility that a total ban will come into place, Mr Abela said.

Minister of Health Dr Louis Deguara told The Malta Financial and Business Times that there is no ban at the moment but Malta would have to abide by the EU directives. He said that other sources of sponsorships should come into place because associations need the money.

Dr Deguara stressed that although it looks weird for a tobacco sponsorship in sport, that is the case today and something must be done.

The European Commission proposed last May a new Directive on tobacco advertising and sponsorship. The new proposal aims to harmonise existing regulations on tobacco advertising in Member States with a view to fostering the internal market. Most Member States have far-reaching prohibitions of tobacco advertising in place.

At the same time the proposals seeks - as foreseen in the EC Treaty - a high standard of health protection for its citizens. The draft Directive will outlaw tobacco advertising in the print media and it will also prohibit advertising of tobacco products in the radio and on the Internet. Equally sponsorship by tobacco companies of events or activities involving or taking place in several Member States will be outlawed.



The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt