Communication Switzerland rejects popular initiative against tobacco advertising

The popular initiative "Yes to protecting children and young people from tobacco advertising" overshoots the mark by far in the opinion of KS/CS Kommunikation Schweiz. At the same time, the umbrella organisation of commercial communication rejects the second preliminary draft of the new Tobacco Products Act and rejects further advertising restrictions.

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KS/CS Kommunikation Schweiz agrees with the initiative "Yes to protecting children and young people from tobacco advertising" in its objectives. The protection of children and young people is undoubtedly the first priority, it said in a statement. The umbrella organisation for commercial communication therefore supports both the minimum age of 18 for the purchase of tobacco products by young people and the ban on tobacco advertising to minors.

The umbrella organisation for commercial communication rejects further advertising restrictions as not being effective. "They overshoot the mark and open the door to additional bans - for example on foods containing fat, sugar and salt," writes the association.

In an already highly regulated market, new advertising bans offer no guarantee that fewer young people will take up cigarettes, writes KS/CS Communication Switzerland. The fact that the initiative ignores the ongoing parliamentary consultations on the new Tobacco Products Act also shows "little democratic understanding on the part of the initiators".

"Advertising can't be stopped by cantonal borders".

In 2016, when discussing the first draft of the new Tobacco Products Act (TabPG), Parliament clearly stated that a new proposal should not contain any further advertising restrictions, writes KS/CS Kommunikation SChweiz. Incomprehensibly, the Federal Council has nevertheless integrated new advertising bans in the second preliminary draft. The association therefore demands that the corresponding Article 17 para. 2 be deleted without replacement.

The same applies to Article 19, which is intended to give the cantons the authority to enact stricter advertising regulations on their own. This not only reverses the will of parliament, but also endangers legal certainty, legal uniformity and equal treatment. "By its very nature, commercial communication does not respect cantonal borders," the statement said.

Self-regulation goes beyond legal requirements

As part of its self-regulation, the tobacco industry took measures years ago that go far beyond the legal requirements, argues the umbrella organisation. Many of these, such as the size of the warnings on the packets, are now perceived by a large proportion of consumers as legal requirements. This shows that self-regulation is effective. Against this background, it makes no sense to cement the relevant guidelines in a law, according to KS/CS Communication Switzerland. Particularly as the Federal Council, like the EU and the OECD, is promoting self-regulation and out-of-court dispute resolution in view of the overburdened courts. (pd/red)

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