MPs moot tobacco industry funding for anti-smoking drive

Labour MPs are calling on tobacco companies to fund anti-smoking advertising as part of a drive by the industry to clean up its image.

Labour MPs are calling on tobacco companies to fund anti-smoking

advertising as part of a drive by the industry to clean up its

image.



Government sources said ministers would consider the idea as they seek

extra funding for their anti-smoking campaigns. But cigarette companies

are unlikely to be compelled by law to fund educational work.



The proposal is gaining currency among Labour MPs following last month’s

dollars 230 billion agreement in the US, where tobacco companies agreed

to launch anti-smoking programmes and curb advertising as part of a deal

to settle legal claims against them by sick smokers.



Kevin Barron, a Labour backbencher who sought unsuccessfully to ban

tobacco promotion in the last parliament, said: ’It could happen here.

The tobacco industry says it is concerned about teenage smoking. Let us

see how deep that concern is.’



Clive Turner, the executive director of the Tobacco Manufacturers

Association, said: ’We spend pounds 10 million a year on health

warnings, which take up 20 per cent of poster space. Why should we take

over the Government’s job?’



Turner added that the industry has funded efforts to combat teenage

smoking, including a campaign urging retailers not to sell cigarettes to

under-16s.



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