South African ad ban moves forward

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JOHANNESBURG - Brushing aside fierce opposition from unions, media owners, the free speech and tobacco lobbies, the South African Parliament's health portfolio committee approved on October 23 the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill. The legislation will outlaw all advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products, and ban smoking in public places. This move makes it almost certain the Bill will be passed by Parliament when it is debated November 5.

The Freedom of Commercial Speech Trust immediately issued a statement that it will brief a legal team to challenge in court the constitutionality of the legislation, which Trust chairman Neil Jacobsohn called "flawed and ill-conceived." But Dr. Yussuf Saloojee, director of the National Council Against Smoking, said the decision was "a victory for health."

The health committee made some minor amendments to the bill, one of which allows people to wear clothing bearing tobacco trademarks without fear of prosecution.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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