HEALTH MINISTER Tessa Jowell announced that all UK advertising and promotions for tobacco products will end as of 10 December - eighteen months ahead of the rest of Europe.

According to the EU directive thrashed-out two years ago in Brussels, all billboard and cigarette promotions must end by July 2001. However the Government has decided to jump the gun by implementing the ban ahead of other EU states, although it excludes tobacco sponsorship of sporting events - due be phased out by 2003 save for sports deemed to have ‘global appeal’, such as Formula One motor racing, which are reprieved until 2006. Although the Government’s statement did not specifically mention direct marketing, Colin Fricker, DMA director of legislative affairs, believes it is embodied within the ban, despite the DMA’s frequently ar-gued view that dm should be exempt as it is restricted to adults over the age of eighteen who have voluntar-ily identified themselves as smokers. The DMA, with other advertising and marketing bodies, is seeking an urgent meeting with the Department of Health, seen as the prime mover in the Government’s early introduc-tion of the ban.