No common market for advertisers?

- How the principle of free movement of goods may get burned by EC Tobacco Directive

Ross Denton

The new EC proposals to regulate tobacco advertising drive a breach in the principle of free movement of goods. States with total bans could exclude all tobacco advertising, and the media carrying it. The right of states to impose tougher constraints than those prescribed as a Community Standard did not previously include barring incoming goods meeting those Standards. To achieve free circulation of goods by the end of 1992, a total ban on promoting tobacco goods must obtain, superseding the partial harmonisation now proposed. The case for it (that tobacco ads encourage smoking), never demonstrated, is essentially a device to protect the tobacco monopolies of France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. If smoking is harmful, the products rather than their advertising should be the target. Such disparities, if accepted, are a grave precedent, signalling that there is no common market for advertisers.