Stars back anti-smoking campaign

INTERNATIONAL pop stars are backing an EU anti-smoking campaign launched today by Irish Commissioner David Byrne.

The €6 million campaign, the second phase of a three-year strategy costing €18 million, features an advert to be shown on more than 40 TV stations and 5,000 cinemas across Europe.

A song, Feel Free to Say No, by band B4-4, will feature on the ad and Commissioner Byrne has lined up Sophie Ellis Bextor, Moby, Backstreet Boys’ producer Lou Pearlman and others for the campaign.

“Smoking is connected with positive emotions and associations and is given a cool and self-confident image,” said Mr Byrne, adding the advertisement was dedicated to changing this view.

The campaign will focus on young people. Surveys show they are being targeted by tobacco companies and women are the main growth area for cigarette sales. Proposals to ban all tobacco advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio and the internet, and to stop sponsorship by tobacco companies are currently going through the European Parliament.

This follows the stalled attempt for a similar ban two years ago which was successfully challenged by the EU’s largest cigarette manufacturer, Germany, and British tobacco companies.

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