Tobacco export condemned as `unethical and lethal'

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Tobacco is an "unethical export", at least as lethal in the long term as the military hardware sold around the world by rich countries to poorer ones, the President of the Royal College of Physicians says.

In a letter to Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, Professor George Alberti says that the Government must act to stem the exports which are the cause of a "a major epidemic of premature death and disability that is now exploding in many developing countries".

By 2025, tobacco will be responsible for 10 million deaths a year world- wide. Exports from the UK have more than doubled in the past 10 years, from pounds 450m to pounds 1,136m.

The Government is seeking to ban tobacco advertising in Britain and the EC and will introduce a Green Paper next month setting out its plans for improving public health. However, it emerged last month that Formula One racing was to be exempted from the ban for 10 years.

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