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Last Updated: Friday, 3 February 2006, 12:56 GMT
Arctic Monkeys defend album cover
Arctic Monkeys album cover
The album cover also features an ashtray filled with cigarette butts
An Arctic Monkeys spokesman has defended the band's album cover, after it was criticised for showing a man smoking a cigarette.

Dr Laurence Gruer of NHS Health Scotland said the chart-topping album's cover "reinforces the idea that smoking is OK", he told the Herald newspaper.

But the band's product manager, Johnny Bradshaw, denied it promoted smoking.

"You can see from the image smoking is not doing him the world of good," Mr Bradshaw said.

The Arctic Monkey's debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not has sold more than 360,000 copies since its 23 January release.

It features a photograph of a friend of the band smoking on its front cover and an ashtray filled with cigarette butts on its reverse.

With a blatant image of a guy smoking, it will be seen by many as a cool thing to do
Dr Laurence Gruer, NHS Health Scotland
Dr Gruer, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, said: "Although the band is from Sheffield, thousands of youngsters in Scotland will buy it because it is good music.

"It is the fastest-selling album in British history, but it gives out the wrong image."

He added: "With a blatant image of a guy smoking, it will be seen by many as a cool thing to do."

But Mr Bradshaw said: "The image has been used all over the place.

"We have not had any complaints from supermarkets or places where the album has been stocked."

The band perform in Manchester this weekend as part of a UK tour.

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