South Africa considers tobacco ad, sponsorship ban

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CAPE TOWN -- Proposed new legislation to be tabled in Parliament shortly will give Health Minister Nkosazana Zuma the power to impose stricter controls on the tobacco industry, inclu- ding a total ban on advertising and sponsorship.

Mrs. Zuma told the Economics of Tobacco Control conference here: "We are considering banning tobacco advertising, sponsorships and promo- tions, and raising to 18 the age at which minors can legally buy cigarettes." Also under consider- ation is a ban on smoking in public and in the workplace.

Mrs. Zuma said developing countries such as South Africa are increasingly at risk from aggres- sive international tobacco companies as they find themselves squeezed out of industrialized markets. "They are on the offensive in developing countries," she said.

The new legislation is the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill. Health warnings were first made compulsory on advertising and cigarette packs two years ago.

Advertising, which had been running at about $50 million a year, was not increased last year as a result, and more money was ploughed into sponsor- ship. For example, Rothmans International's sponsor- ship of the Professional Soccer League is worth more than $4 million over three years.

Copyright February 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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