Letter: Smoking gun

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Jeremy Laurance's report, "British firms accused over cigarettes" (20 November) drew much-needed attention to the plight of developing nations suffering tragically as tobacco companies replace declining markets in Europe and America.

But at the same time we are seeing the USA (and Europe soon?) agreeing to multi-billion-dollar compensation from the tobacco companies for smoking- induced healthcare costs. Are we to allow the governments to be naive in not asking where the billions of dollars will come from? Or perhaps governments just do not care that it is the profits from the projected 100 million Chinese smokers (and others) who die early that will really finance the "penalties" that western governments extract.

There has to be a globally responsible attitude. China, India and Africa cannot afford to have millions of productive adults maimed and killed. Yet they will be killed by a product we allow to continue in global markets clearly understanding that the profits generated pay for better health care in the USA and in any other country that does a deal with the tobacco companies.


Leigh, Greater Manchester