The Swiss voted on Sunday to tighten their notoriously lax tobacco legal guidelines by banning nearly all promoting of the hazardous merchandise, with almost 57 p.c of voters and 16 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons backing the near-total ban, remaining outcomes confirmed.
“We’re extraordinarily blissful. The individuals understood that well being is extra essential than financial pursuits,” Stefanie De Borba of the Swiss League in opposition to Most cancers informed AFP information company.
Switzerland lags far behind most rich nations in limiting tobacco promoting – a scenario extensively blamed on substantial lobbying by a few of the world’s greatest tobacco firms with headquarters within the nation.
Presently, most tobacco promoting is authorized at a nationwide stage, besides on tv and radio, and when particularly concentrating on minors.
Some Swiss cantons have launched stricter regional laws and a brand new nationwide regulation is pending, however the campaigners who pressured the difficulty to a vote underneath Switzerland’s direct democracy system demanded far tighter guidelines.
Opponents of the initiative, which embody the Swiss authorities and parliament, argued that it goes too far.
Politically right ‘dictatorship’
“At this time we’re speaking about cigarettes, however we are going to quickly be speaking about alcohol and meat,” warned Philippe Bauer, a parliamentarian with the right-wing Liberal Occasion, decrying “this dictatorship of the politically right, the place all the pieces must be regulated”.
His issues echo these voiced by Philip Morris Worldwide (PMI), the world’s largest tobacco firm, which, like British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco, has headquarters in Switzerland and has helped fund the “No” marketing campaign.
“It is a slippery slope so far as particular person freedom is anxious,” a spokesman for PMI’s Swiss part informed AFP.
He decried Sunday’s consequence and urged parliament to point out “moderation and measure” when drafting the choice into regulation.
Jean-Paul Humair, who heads a Geneva habit prevention centre, hailed Sunday’s win as “a vital step” within the battle in opposition to tobacco use, and flatly rejected the business’s arguments.
“This isn’t a query of freedom… It’s an phantasm of freedom,” he informed AFP, mentioning that tobacco use creates extreme dependency.
‘Kills half of all customers’
“There isn’t any different shopper product that kills half of all customers.”
Campaigners say lax promoting legal guidelines have stymied efforts to carry down smoking charges within the Alpine nation of 8.6 million individuals, the place greater than 1 / 4 of adults devour tobacco merchandise. There are about 9,500 tobacco-linked deaths annually.
Pascal Diethelm, head of the OxyRomandie tobacco management group, informed AFP that Sunday’s vote ought to assist result in a “change of paradigm” for federal authorities.
“(They) have been accepting for too lengthy that well being prevention coverage be put underneath the tutelage of huge enterprise,” they stated.
The tobacco business contributes about six billion Swiss francs ($6.5 billion) to the economic system yearly – one p.c of Switzerland’s gross home product – and accounts for some 11,500 jobs.
Swiss well being minister Alain Berset in the meantime confused to journalists that it may take time for the near-ban to take impact.
“It actually doesn’t appear attainable that it may take impact this 12 months,” he stated.
The brand new tobacco promoting restrictions may conceivably be added to a brand new tobacco regulation already attributable to take impact subsequent 12 months, and which for the primary time will set a nationwide minimal age for the acquisition of tobacco merchandise.
Different points on Sunday’s poll didn’t fare as effectively within the polls.
Practically 80 p.c of voters rejected a name to ban all animal testing.
All political events, parliament and the federal government had opposed the initiative, arguing it went too far and would have dire penalties for medical analysis.
In one other animal-themed vote, inhabitants within the northern Basel-Stadt canton additionally massively rejected a bid to afford non-human primates a few of the similar fundamental basic rights as their human cousins, with almost 75 p.c opposed.
Greater than 55 p.c of voters additionally rejected a plan by the nationwide authorities to offer extra state funding to media firms, which have seen their promoting revenues evaporate in recent times.
Practically 44 p.c of eligible Swiss voters took half on Sunday, which isn’t unusually low in a rustic the place such in style votes are held each few months.