TOTAL COOK ISLANDS ADVERTISING BAN ON ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO RECOMMENDED

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By Alex Sword

AVARUA, Cook Islands (July 24, 2000 - Cook Islands News)---A Cook Islands parliamentary Special Select Committee has recommended a total ban on alcohol and tobacco advertising.

The committee reviewed the report of the 1997 select committee on tobacco and alcohol advertising. The latest report was tabled in Parliament last Friday and is yet to be debated.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The latest report's recommendations also include that:

· The total ban on alcohol and tobacco advertising be imposed initially on television, radio and newspapers;

· A grace period of no more than six months be given to those persons or organizations currently relying on revenue from sponsorship or advertising of tobacco and alcohol;

· The Tobacco Products Act 1987 be amended to prescribe that tobacco products shall not be sold to a person under the age of 18 years.

· Parliament consider the establishment of a Special Select Committee to review the investigations and findings of the former Committee relating to its 5th term of reference:

· To review the impacts of the use of alcohol and tobacco products, on the health and welfare of children, adolescents and adults in the Cook Islands and where those impacts are negative, identify and report to Parliament with its recommendations on what steps ought to be taken, or changes made, if any in respect to the following:

(i) Levies imposed on the importation of tobacco and alcohol and the ingredients thereof;

(ii) Affirmative campaigns to promote healthy lifestyles and responsible behavior away from alcohol and tobacco;

(iii) Restrictions imposed on the places alcohol may be drunk and tobacco smoked."

CONCLUSION

The latest committee in its report under 'conclusions' stated that it "made special note of the extensive enquiries carried out by the former Committee and, for this reason, the Committee concluded that further investigation was unnecessary. The Committee did, however, receive verbal submissions from Mr. George Pitt of the Cook Islands Broadcasting Services Ltd., at his own request."

Mr. Pitt, while informing that his company supported a total ban on alcohol advertising, requested that if Parliament was to impose a total ban on alcohol advertisements, that his company be given a grace period of one year to source alternative means of revenue.

For additional reports from the Cook Islands News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands News Online.

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