SYDNEY — The Australian Parliament, with the backing of Prime Minister Bob Hawke's Labor Party, passed a law this month to ban cigarette advertising in Australian newspapers and magazines in 1991. With a few exceptions, cigarette ads will be banned from all major media outlets in Australia. Tobacco product ads were banned from television and radio in 1976. Australia will join Canada, Italy, Norway, Portugal, and Singapore, which have similar advertising bans.
Cigarette advertising dollars account for about 6 percent of total print media revenue.
Opponents of the ban, including the advertising industry, said that research had failed to establish that ads increased the incidence of smoking. Further, they said banning of ads for a legal product ``smacked of the authoritarianism being rejected by Eastern Europe.''
Government health officials estimate that smoking-related health problems cost the Australian public nearly $2 billion dollars each year.