Letter: Healthy scepticism

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Jeremy Laurance (Health, 5 January) is perfectly entitled to bribe his children with his own money to desist from smoking.

What many find unacceptable is the intention by Government to use taxpayers' cash to wean the poorer smoker off the weed, which presumably he voluntarily pursued in the first place. The "generous bribe" to Shane Warne is being offered by the makers of a nicotine replacement product, with commercial and advertising advantage being considered alongside the intention of this sporting personality to publicly end his habit.

On the day that a BBC national survey declares the majority of the population as overweight and under- fit, will Mr Laurance now advocate bribes from the private or public sector to resist sweets, fatty foods or alcohol, and will lycra shorts and exercise bicycles now be available by prescription?

JOHN CARLISLE

Executive Director of Public Affairs

Tobacco Manufacturers' Association

London SW1

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