Swiss voters at the polls on Sunday to toughen their tobacco laws by banning almost all advertising of tobacco products.
Almost 57% of voters and 16 of The 26 Swiss cantons supported the quasi-total a ban on tobacco advertising, a final score of votes show.
“We are extremely happy. people understand that health is more important than economic interests”, Stefanie De Borba of the swiss league against Cancer, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) as the results became clear.
Switzerland is far behind behind richest nations in restricting tobacco advertising – a situation widely blamed on intense lobbying by some of the world’s largest tobacco companies are headquartered social in the country.
Currently, most tobacco advertising is legal at a national level, except for ads on television and radio, and those that specifically target minors.
Some Swiss cantons have introduced stricter regional legislation and new national the law is pending, but activists who forced it issue has a vote under Swiss direct democracy system required much tighter rules.
‘Kill half of all the users’
opponents of the initiative, of which the Swiss are part government and Parliament argued that this went too far.
“Today we are talking about cigarettes, but we will soon talking about alcohol and meat,” warned Philippe Bauer, a right-wing Liberal Party MP.
“It annoys me to live in a society … with this dictatorship of political correctness, where everything must be regulated,” he told RTS.
Its concerns echo those expressed by Philip Morris International (PMI), the world’s largest tobacco company, which, like British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco are headquartered social in Switzerland and helped finance the “No” campaign.
“It’s a slippery slope when it comes to individual freedom concerned”, a spokesperson for The Swiss section of PMI told AFP, decrying on Sunday result.
When writing the decision in the law, he urged parliament do this with “moderation and measure” and ensure advertising aimed at adults will be remain legal.
“A total to forbid on The advertisement for legal products is contrary to freedom of trade and dedicated industry in the Constitution.”
Jean-Paul Humair who directs a Geneva center for the prevention of addictions, hailed on Sunday win as “a very important element step” in the battle against Tobacco useet flatly rejected the industry’s arguments.
“It is not a question of freedom… it’s an illusion of freedom,” he told AFP, pointing to out this tobacco use creates a strong dependency.
“There is no other consumer product that kills half of all the users.”
Activists say lax advertising laws have hampered efforts to bring down smoking rate in the alpine nation of 8.6 millions peoplewhere more one quarter of adults use tobacco products. There are approximately 9,500 tobacco-related deaths each year.
Sundays win means that the new restrictions on tobacco advertising will be added has a new tobacco law already had to take effect next year.
This law, which the Swiss legislators passed last September after years of debate, for the first time sets a minimum age national for the purchase of tobacco – at age 18.
Other issues on Sunday’s poll didn’t go as well in polls.
Almost 80% of voters rejected a call ban all animal testing.
All political parties parliament and the government had opposed the initiative, arguing that it went too far and would have disastrous consequences for medical research.
Researchers say medical progress is impossible without experimentation, and even the Swiss Animal Protection group has warned against the “radical” demands of the initiative.
Swiss authorities also underlined the country already is among the world’s strictest laws governing animal testing.
In another animal theme votehabitants in the north of the canton of Basel-Stadt also overwhelmingly rejected an offer to provide non-human primates of the same basic basic rights like their human cousins, with nearly 75% oppose it.
More than 55% of voters also rejected a plan by the national government provide additional state funding to media businesses, which have seen their ad revenue evaporate in these last years.
Almost 44% of eligible Swiss voters took party on Sunday, which is not exceptionally weak in such a popular country votes take place every few months.