Marketing and communications associations do not find tobacco initiative effective

Protecting young people is important. However, the extreme initiative "Yes to protecting children and young people from tobacco advertising" goes too far, as it de facto wants to ban all forms of advertising - including those that reach adults. This is the opinion of seven Swiss brand and communications associations, which is why they are saying no to the tobacco initiative on February 13, 2022.

Marketing- und KommunikationsverbändeIt is undisputed that children and young people must be protected from tobacco, the seven associations write in a statement. Parliament's Tobacco Products Act would strengthen the protection of minors without bringing about a de facto ban on advertising.

In addition to the major business associations - such as Economiesuisse and Gewerbeverband - seven marketing and communications associations are now also campaigning against the new advertising bans. These are namely KS/CS Kommunikation Schweiz, IAA Swiss Chapter, IAB Switzerland, the Swiss branded goods association Promarca, the Swiss Dialog Marketing Association (SDV), the Swiss Media Association (VSM) and the Swiss Advertisers Association (SWA).

By seeking to ban any type of advertising for tobacco products that could reach children and adolescents, the initiative would ultimately lead to a de facto complete ban on advertising. This is unacceptable to the signatory marketing and communications associations and violates the principle of economic freedom, the associations write further. Advertising bans are at most a last resort to solve social problems if they are used in a targeted manner. However, the initiative goes far beyond this goal and also wants to ban advertising for people who do not belong to the target group.

The associations further argue that advertising is an important component of a functioning national economy and is constitutionally guaranteed. A ban on advertising for a legal product would be tantamount to a ban on communication by a company. Moreover, advertising contributes to information for consumers. An advertising ban on legal tobacco products would also pave the way for further advertising bans on products and services that are considered harmful to health - such as sugar or alcohol.

For this reason, the undersigned associations support the counter-proposal of the parliament and recommend the rejection of the initiative, because it does not achieve its goals. According to the associations, the counter-proposal passed by parliament is effective and comprehensive, as it protects children and young people and also covers other areas. It combines effective and targeted protection of minors with the interests of the economy, trade and culture.

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