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Monday, 22 November, 1999, 19:06 GMT
Bangladesh protest against BAT
Bangladesh television does not normally run tobacco advertisements

By David Chazan in Dhaka

The High Court in Bangladesh has ordered the British-American Tobacco company (BAT) to stop promoting cigarettes.

The court order followed legal action by the Bangladesh anti-tobacco alliance which has been protesting against the arrival of a yacht which is promoting John Player Gold Leaf cigarettes.

Tobacco wars
  • The US legal battle
  • Tobacco economics
  • Smoking goes global
  • Cigarette health file
  • Timeline: the tobacco war
  • The anti-tobacco alliance says it is unfair that tobacco manufacturers who have to shell out huge sums in compensation awards for smoking-related deaths in the United States should be continuing to encourage cigarette smoking in developing countries.

    A commercial on state-run television publicised the arrival of the yacht to promote John Player Gold Leaf cigarettes.

    Bangladesh television does not normally run tobacco advertisements.

    Now the High Court has ruled that such promotion of cigarettes is illegal and it says BAT must stop all its publicity for the yacht which put into the port of Chittagong over the weekend.

    Protest

    The judgement is being hailed as a victory for the Bangladesh anti-tobacco alliance, a coalition of cancer groups and charities formed to protest against the yacht's arrival.

    Tobacco manufacturers are targeting developing nations
    Members of the alliance say that as the number of smokers dwindles in the industrialised world, tobacco manufacturers are increasingly targeting developing nations.

    This is in contrast to countries like the United States, where courts have forced them to pay vast sums in compensation for deaths related to smoking and where people are more aware of the health risk.

    BAT however denies that it is taking advantage of easier, less-well regulated markets saying it has always been open about the risks of smoking and it is up to people to make up their own minds.

    Its promotional yacht set sail from Britain in June visiting 17 countries in 170 days.

    Leaders of the anti-tobacco alliance are jubilant that they have succeeded in stopping the publicity campaign by a cigarette manufacturer which is one of Bangladesh' biggest taxpayers.

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    See also:
    27 Oct 99 |  The Company File
    BAT profits jump 26%
    15 Oct 99 |  Americas
    Timeline: The tobacco war
    15 Oct 99 |  The Company File
    The economics of tobacco
    03 Sep 99 |  The Company File
    Tobacco industry victory
    29 Oct 99 |  Health
    Tobacco ad ban setback
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