Letter: The costly code that encourages smoking

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The Independent Online
Sir: Susan Elkin ('Where there's smoke, there needn't be a burnt witch', 9 March) says that adult example is known to be the strongest incitement to adolescent smoking. For adult example, read 'the adult code'; parents who smoke, teachers who smoke, even doctors who smoke, the streets emblazoned with advertisements by adults that say it's clever and sophisticated to smoke. Children are quick to translate the adult code, and adopt it for themselves as early as they can.

How can Ben Welsh from the Tobacco Manufacturers Association (letter, 9 March) claim that advertising doesn't affect children, because 'advertising cannot make people buy something they do not want'? Teachers, doctors, and other professionals, as well as parents, have an important part to play in helping to prevent children from starting to smoke, by their own example. But their example can never outweigh that of the other 'adults', who spend pounds 100m each year on advertising and sponsorship.

Yours faithfully,



Doctors for Tobacco Law

London, SE5

9 March