Switzerland will ban the advertising of all tobacco products
The Swiss public voted largely in support of banning all tobacco product advertisements, putting an end to tax regulations in the country, Reuters reported. The plan that was put to a public vote on Sunday received the support of 57 percent of voters as Switzerland practices direct democracy.
In such a system, voters have more power in deciding matters than the representatives that they elect from their respective regions. Switzerland is one of the few nations that uses this approach for its democracy, although some towns in the U.S. also practice it to manage their local affairs.
After stating that cigarettes should be banned worldwide and it would cease sales in the U.K. in the coming decade, Philip Morris' International, the world's largest cigarette manufacturer had supported the "No" campaign against the vote. A spokesperson cited that an advertising ban could further be extended to other products such as alcohol and sugar.
However, supporters of the "Yes" campaign cited numbers in their responses. A quarter of the Swiss population of 8.9 million uses tobacco products and 9,500 tobacco-related deaths are recorded every year, France 24 reported. The country's previous laws prevented tobacco advertising on television or on the radio but were otherwise legal through other media.
The vote on Sunday was aimed at protecting the younger generation from being exposed to the habit of smoking in a country and now prevents advertising in newspapers, on billboards, on the internet, in cinemas, and at events, Reuters reported.
Research studies in the U.S. have shown that reducing advertising from the point of sale has the potential to reduce smoking prevalence by 16 percent and prevent as many as 630,000 smoking-attributable deaths.
By voting in favor of the ban on advertising, the Swiss were choosing health over money made from advertising these products, a citizen told Reuters. Interestingly though, in another vote conducted on the same day, voters refrained from banning animal testing after pharma companies lobbied against it fearing the economic damage the move would cost.
Switzerland has put the ban on animal testing to vote on three occasions since 1985, the France24 report said. However, the research community, as well as Animal Protection Groups, have warned against "radical" demands, citing animal testing is an integral part of medical progress. Regulations have reduced the usage of animals in testing from over two million in the 1980s to over 500,000 a year now but supports of the move called for more empathy from the people.
The idea though, could garner only 21 percent support from the voters on a day when Elon Musk's Neuralink was also accused of being inhumane to its monkeys in its studies. The failed vote prevented Switzerland from becoming the first country to ban animal testing altogether.