Switzerland will ban advertising of tobacco products aimed at young people, the government announced today, implementing a decision approved last year in a referendum.

The cabinet said it would step up restrictions already planned to ban advertising in places and media where it can be seen by young people.

The new laws will come into force from mid-2026 and will strengthen restrictions on the packaging and advertising of tobacco and e-cigarettes that are expected to come into force from next year.

The decision, which will affect print media, online advertising and festivals, is designed to reduce tobacco consumption and related deaths.

Smoking remains relatively widespread in Switzerland with 9,500 people dying prematurely each year as a result of tobacco consumption, the government said, calling it one of the biggest public health problems in the country.

“Tobacco use causes many non-communicable diseases, and the cost of their medical treatment amounts to three billion Swiss francs (US$3.37 billion) annually,” the government said.

“Tobacco advertising plays an important role in the decision to start smoking,” he added.

In 2022, 6.9% of Swiss aged 11-15 had smoked cigarettes in the previous 30 days, while 5.7% of young people aged 15-24 have used e-cigarettes at least once a month, the government said .

In the future, advertising of tobacco products or e-cigarettes will not be allowed in print media, in stores or at events that may be visited or attended by minors.

In addition, sponsorship of events involving people under 18 will be prohibited. Online advertising will still be allowed as age screening systems are in place.

The stricter restrictions follow the success of the referendum entitled “Yes to the protection of children and young people from tobacco advertising”, which was approved by 57% of Swiss voters in February 2022.