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EU Court Overturns Ban on Advertising

October 06, 2000|Associated Press

The European Union's court overturned an EU ban on tobacco advertising, ruling that the prohibition was flawed legally. The European Court of Justice said the EU's executive arm, the European Commission, has no power in the area of health regulation and therefore no authority to ban tobacco advertising within the 15-nation EU. The Luxembourg-based court said the ban did not contribute to the free movement of goods and services, but rather blocked it. The case against the EU-wide ban was launched by Germany and several tobacco and advertising companies. They said the ban impeded the single market for goods and services and was imposed to protect public health, an area in which the EU has no regulatory powers. When the ban was adopted by a vote among EU governments in 1998, Germany voted against it but was overruled by its EU partners. The commission said the ban was designed to end unfair trade advantages because some EU nations prohibit tobacco advertising. Germany and Austria have no such bans. The ruling was a blow to EU efforts to get Europeans to stop smoking.

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