Select Committee on European Communities Report


Letter from Tessa Jowell MP, Minister of State for Public Health, Department of Health, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  Thank you for your letter of 17 December[5] about the tobacco advertising Directive. I am sorry that you have not had an earlier reply.

  I appreciate the depth in which the Committee has considered this issue, particularly with regard to tobacco sponsorship of sport. The Government has always made clear that it is pursuing twin objectives of reducing smoking and of safeguarding sport from the effects of the loss of tobacco sponsorship. By working with the Presidency, other Member States and the Commission, we have agreed a position which meets the Government's objectives: a ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship, the safeguarding of sporting and arts events and an arrangement which takes into account the special position of Formula One.

  The Directive has yet to pass through the European Parliament before final adoption and its ultimate form is not known. Nevertheless, I hope that the Government's White Paper on tobacco control to be published later this year will be able to address the issues which you raise and other aspects of the Directive which are a matter for individual Member States.

  At this stage in the development of the White Paper, and subject to the final form of the Directive, I can only say that it will be for Ministers to decide which events will be subject to the longer transitional period, having qualified as "events or activities organised at world level". We envisage this applying to: events which genuinely command significant interest in many parts of the world, are organised and staged in different parts of the world as part of a single competition where each event has equal status, and where there is therefore a significant risk that they could simply be staged elsewhere and re-broadcast to this country. It is for the sports, which may qualify under the terms of the Directive as applied in the UK, to make their case to Ministers for the longer transitional period.

  Those events which qualify for the additives three year phase-in period will have to satisfy the Government of their reducing dependence on tobacco sponsorship and visible tobacco advertising at these events will have to be reduced. The Government is to play a direct part in the efforts to reduce tobacco sponsorship by setting up a Task Force which will help sports currently dependent on tobacco sponsorship to find alternative backers. It will be starting work soon.

  At a European level, the implementation and effects of Article 6(3) will be reported on every two years by the Commission.

  The English version of the common position text was sent to you on 9 December along with a summary note of the substantive changes made. I now enclose the English common position text of 22 January 1998 following its passage through the jurist-linguist process and subsequent adoption by the Council on 12 February. Substantive changes over and above simple linguistic tidying have been highlighted for the Committee and are listed below:

  Article 1:  a new Article (the Subsequent Articles have been re-numbered accordingly) which states that the objective of this Directive is to approximate the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to the advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products. This reinforces the Article 100a rationale behind the Directive.

  Article 2 (old Article 1):  remains the same.

  Article 3 (old Article 2):  para two: date of entry into force has been clarified (see Article 8).

  Article 4 (old Article 3):  change from ". . . appropriate and effective means" to "adequate and effective means".

  Article 5 (old Article 4):  remains the same.

  Article 6 (old Article 5):

  —para two has been incorporated into para one and a new para two has been added which states that Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of domestic law which they adopt in the field covered by the Directive.

  —voluntary restraint measures: now covers events and activities rather than just events.

  Article 7 (old Article 6):  remains the same.

  Article 8:  a new Article which offers clarification on the date of entry into force of the Directive.

  Article 9 (old Article 7):  remains the same.

20 February 1998

5   Printed in Correspondence with Ministers, 11th Report, Session 1997-98, p58. Back

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