Bid to stub out early ad ban

The Law Lords are to have the final say on the Government's bid to introduce a ban on tobacco advertising earlier than necessary. The Government is fighting to bring in early implementation of the European Tobacco Advertising directive in respect of tobacco advertising and sponsorship. But leave has been given by Lords Browne-Wilkinson, Hope and Hutton for the tobacco companies to mount a last-ditch attempt to have such a ban declared unlawful. Imperial, Gallagher, Rothmans UK and British American Tobacco have been battling to block the move. In October last year, the High Court backed them in their fight, but in December the Court of Appeal, headed by Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf, overturned that decision and held that the Government was within its rights. The matter will now go before five Law Lords in a final bid by the tobacco companies to block any ban prior to the final deadline of July 2001.