The European Court of Justice ruled on Oct. 5 that the European Union directive banning tobacco ads should be annulled. "The court decided that the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers did not have a sound legal basis on which to ban tobacco advertising," said a court spokeswoman. The ban was wrongly adopted as a means to strengthen the European single market, she said, when in fact it was a health measure. The EU would have had difficulty adopting the ban on health grounds, since powers in this area remain largely with national governments. The European Court was responding to legal challenges from Germany and tobacco marketers British American Tobacco, Gallaher, Imperial and Rothmans.
Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.