Colombia’s National Television Commission has banned tobacco and alcohol advertising on air.

The ban will be phased in over the next year, said Adela Maestra, the acting director of the TV watchdog.

The commission will observe contractual agreements between advertisers and TV nets until April, allowing these products to be shown on air. From May until the end of November, tobacco and alcohol companies will be acknowledged at the beginning and end of the programs concerned, but the products will not be mentioned or shown.

The total ban will be enforced from Dec. 1, 2006.

This new measure, seen as drastic by media watchers here, applies to all TV platforms and could cost the industry $13 million a year in lost advertising revenue.