Letter: Tobacco advertising

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The Independent Online
Sir: A ban on tobacco advertising is not "wrong in principle", as your leading article claims (6 November).

Tobacco smoking is the biggest single cause of premature death and disease in the UK and the promotion of such a deadly product is morally indefensible. It is only legal because its use became widespread long before the health hazards were known. If cigarettes were invented today, they would certainly be banned from sale. Therefore it does not follow that just because tobacco is legal that it should be legal to advertise it.

There is plenty of evidence to show that tobacco advertising and sponsorship influence children. The net result of allowing "the boy racers to decorate their dangerous toys with cigarette ads" will be the continuous uptake of smoking by impressionable teenagers. Those who persist in the habit - and because of the addictiveness of nicotine they will number in their thousands - will become the heart disease and lung cancer victims of the future.

AMANDA SANDFORD

Communications Director

ASH (Action on Smoking and Health)

London W1

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