It has been reported that the Swiss public has largely voted in support of banning all tobacco product advertisements, putting an end to tax regulations in the country. 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.
Philip Morris International, the world’s largest cigarette manufacturer had supported the “No” campaign against the vote. A spokesperson also stated that an advertising ban could also cover 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.
This vote was aimed to make cigarette smoking less popular among the younger generation.
Research studies in the U.S. have shown that reducing advertising from the point of sale cut down smoking prevalence by 16 percent and prevent almost 630,000 smoking-attributable deaths.
Interestingly, in another vote on the same day, the 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. 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.
The idea though could only get 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.