Federal Council wants to ban tobacco advertising in print media from 2026 onwards

To protect children and young people from smoking, a ban on tobacco and e-cigarette advertising in printed media is expected to come into force in Switzerland from 2026. This is what the Federal Council wants.

President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset spoke to the media on Wednesday. (Screenshot: YouTube.com)

Such advertising is also to be banned in places open to the public, such as kiosks and festivals, which can be visited by minors. This was announced by President of the Swiss Confederation and Health Minister Alain Berset to the media in Bern on Wednesday.

The Federal Council also wants to prohibit the tobacco industry from sponsoring national events to which minors have access. Online advertising for smoking products is to remain permissible if website operators use an age control system to ensure that minors cannot access pages with tobacco advertising.

With these measures, the national government wants to implement the initiative "Children and young people without tobacco advertising", which was approved by the people and the cantons in February 2022. This calls for a ban on all tobacco advertising where it reaches minors. A dispatch on the amendment of the Tobacco Products Act now goes to parliament.

Berset pointed out to the media that there are already systems for restricting the age of users in electronic games of chance, for example.

Disclose advertising expenses

Last year, the Federal Council sent its ideas for implementing the popular initiative out for consultation. There, they met with harsh criticism from the advertising industry and the tobacco industry. The proposal to impose an obligation on the tobacco industry to report advertising expenditure, sales promotion and sponsorship was particularly rejected.

The SVP and the center described this as "incomprehensible". It had not been the subject of the initiative, and motions to that effect had been rejected in parliament. The center, however, supported the proposal in principle. Left-green and health organizations welcomed the proposals.

The Federal Council is sticking to this reporting requirement. However, it is now proposing that companies be able to report their expenditures jointly so that they can maintain business secrecy. Berset told the media that such an obligation is the international standard. With this reporting obligation, Switzerland could fulfill a requirement of the World Health Organization (WHO). This is what the Federal Council wants.

It has been known for years that Switzerland cannot ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control due to a lack of restrictions on advertising and sponsorship.

New law is already being revised

In Switzerland today, the Food Act regulates advertising for tobacco products. Currently, such advertising is prohibited on radio and television. It is allowed on billboards and in cinemas, but certain cantons prohibit it.

The first tightening of regulations is expected to take place in Switzerland from mid-2024, when the Tobacco Products Act passed by Parliament in 2021 comes into force. From then on, billboard advertising and commercials for smoking products in cinemas will be banned throughout the country.

Even before the new law comes into force, the parliament is to debate a revision of this decree - precisely the new proposals, based on the accepted popular initiative. (SDA)

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