Letter:Royal weed

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King James I's distaste for tobacco is well documented ("Then and now", 18 August). But what is perhaps not so well known is that he raised the tax on tobacco so high that it led to rampant smuggling (rather like today), then later slashed that tax, took control of the industry, and became a partner with two tobacco merchants, creating a Royal Tobacco Monopoly to protect his business interests.

By the time the King died in 1625 he had abandoned his vilification of smokers and had long been encouraging and exploiting them for his own ends.

Your article "Labour queries Tory funds from tobacco industry" (18 August), mentions that when tobacco advertising was banned in various countries, consumption fell measurably. But at the same time in those countries there was either serious inflation, a recession affecting all goods, a savage tobacco tax increase - or a combination of all of those factors. Significantly, Norway, which was quoted, has actually seen tobacco consumption steadily rise in real terms, although there has been no advertising there since 1975.

Clive Turner

Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, London SW1

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