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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December, 2003, 06:34 GMT
Website 'exposes' tobacco firms
Cigarette stubbed out
Campaigners hope smokers who visit the website will quit the habit
A website which claims to expose the marketing practices of the tobacco industry has gone online.

The database - www.tobaccopapers.com - includes 14,000 pages of evidence which have been described as damning by health campaigners.

The website has been constructed by the Centre for Tobacco Control Research at Strathclyde University.

The papers were used to help develop a Cancer Research advertising campaign about the health risks of smoking.

The evidence was originally submitted for public review to the House of Commons' health select committee.

The committee demanded that the tobacco industry's top five UK advertising agencies release relevant internal documentation relating to their advertising and marketing activities on tobacco accounts.

Professor Gerard Hastings, director of the Cancer Research UK Centre for Tobacco Control Research, said the evidence was unique in Europe.

The strategies used by the tobacco industry to promote their products have been hidden for far too long
Dr Jamie Inglis
NHS Scotland
He said: "It will cast a public light on the internal workings of the tobacco industry and help open its practices up to public scrutiny."

Dr Jamie Inglis, NHS Health Scotland director, said that 26,000 Scottish teenagers became addicted to cigarettes every year.

"The strategies used by the tobacco industry to promote their products have been hidden for far too long," he said.

"We must ensure that the public understand how the tobacco industry operates."

The website will incorporate further evidence as and when it becomes available.

David Hinchcliffe MP, chairman of the Commons' health select committee, said the papers showed what the tobacco industry thought of its consumers, in its own words.

"It's pretty damning. Tobacco is one of the major threats to the UK's public health - so it's fascinating and quite chilling to see how tobacco is marketed," he said.

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