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, including a total ban on advertising and spon- sorship.

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

Mrs. Zuma said developingt countries such as South Africa are increasingly at risk from aggressive international tobacco companies as they find themselves squeezed out of industri- alized 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 sponsorship. For example, Roth- mans International's sponsorship of the Pro- fessional Soccer League is worth more than $4 million over three years.

Copyright February 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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