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Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Tobacco adverts action call
Cigarettes and ash tray
The report points to active promotion of smoking
The tobacco industry has been accused of breaching guidelines on the marketing of its products in a report which calls for tougher restrictions.

The authors said new laws should be introduced to protect the public from an industry which had been flouting voluntary agreements on the promotion of its products.

Professor Gerard Hastings and Lynn MacFadyen, of the Cancer Research Campaign centre for Tobacco Control Research at Strathclyde University, analysed thousands of internal documents from the tobacco industry's five main advertising agencies in Britain.

Cigarette and lighter
Industry 'in breach' of voluntary guidelines
The papers were released as part of a recent investigation by a House of Commons committee.

The report concluded that while tobacco firms said they adhered to advertising standards laid down in voluntary agreements, agencies had been working to undermine and evade the current restrictions.

It said there was evidence the industry had used marketing campaigns to encourage people to start and continue smoking.

The survey, entitled "Keep Smiling - No-one's going to die", was released by the Cancer Research Campaign and the British Medical Association.

Professor Hastings said: "We will never be able to trust the tobacco industry. Their interests will always be directly opposed to those of public health.

"These shocking documents prove that commercial imperatives will always subvert voluntary restrictions.

Subverting policy

"They underscore the need for comprehensive, legally-binding restrictions on tobacco marketing to protect the public and save lives."

The authors accused the industry of undermining current rules on tobacco advertising, subverting government policy, recruiting new smokers and targeting vulnerable groups such as the poor.

Professor Gordon McVie, of the Cancer Research Campaign, said "These companies are pariahs. They stop at nothing to ensnare and keep and recruit new smokers."

Last week, Professor McVie criticised tobacco companies for "marketing and targeting their advertisement campaigns at young girls".

He said figures which showed lung cancer was now the biggest killer of British women were a disaster.

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See also:

11 Sep 00 | Health
Smoking addiction 'sets in early'
22 Aug 00 | Health
'More women suffer lung disease'
08 Aug 00 | Americas
United anti-smoking drive urged
02 Aug 00 | Health
UK lung cancer deaths halved
13 Jul 00 | NHS Performance 2000
Cancer rates reveal regional divide
22 May 00 | Health
Tobacco giants fight ad ban
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