Philip Morris International (PMI) urging South Africa Members of Parliament (MPs) to change the 'Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill'..

June 19, 2008 - PMI wants a change in the definitions of advertising and promotion, arguing that the present wording would prevent legitimate communication within the industry. The bill, which is before Parliament, aims to place greater restrictions on the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products. It includes all commercial communication or action brought to the notice of any member of the public in the definition of advertisement, and says promotion includes the practice of fostering awareness of positive attitudes towards a tobacco product or manufacturer for the purposes of selling. If strictly interpreted, a phone call, a price list or a job advertisement would have tobacco companies falling foul of the law, Philip Morris spokesman Neetesh Ramjee told MPs. He called for the bill to be amended to include a definition for the Marlboro cigarettes trade and for this group to be exempted from the advertising and promotion restrictions. PMI also called for changes to the bill's controls of point of sale advertising. The existing laws say signs for tobacco products must be placed within 1m of a point of sale. The signs are allowed to show price and availability, and must carry health and minimum age warnings. The bill proposes limiting such advertisements to a single sign at the point of sale. A single notice for all tobacco products would prejudice new market entrants and well-established firms an unfair advantage, said Steen Hjortholm, Philip Morris southern and east Africa manager. Philip Morris disinvested from SA in the 1980s, and only began selling its Marlboro cigarettes products here again in 2004. It has about 5% of the market, and faces stiff competition from British American Tobacco and Japanese Tobacco International. Each tobacco company should be allowed one sign at point of sale that would list its brands and the price of the products, said Hjortholm. Reference: , South Africa: Tobacco Giant Tackles New Bill,Cigarettes Online, 5/12/2008. More on the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill: Amending South Africa’s Tobacco Control Law, The blog of Jackie Tumwine GLOBALink African Corrrespondent Kampala, 2/16/2007.