Germany is to fall in line with its European Union neighbours and ban tobacco advertising.

The EU directive, which could come into effect as early as August, will put an end to tobacco ads in print media, radio, the internet and at sports events. The move is aimed at reducing the number of younger smokers.

However, Germany has legal action outstanding in the European Court of Justice, claiming such a decision is a national responsibility and outside the EU lawmaking remit.

If the court finds in its favour, the government will reverse the ban on print and radio ads, says spokesman Thomas Steg. A ruling is not expected until at least the end of 2005.

Meanwhile, the ZAW German Advertisement Industry Association says, predictably, the ban will drive smoking underground and lead to higher consumption of smuggled or fake branded tobacco.

Avers ZAW spokesman Volker Nickel: "Cigarettes, with an aura of the forbidden will once again become the trademark of youth rebelling against the older generation."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff