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UK: BAT criticised for funding campaign against cigarette display ban

Date: 29 May 2011

Stubbed out cigarettes

British American Tobacco has come under fire for providing funding for a high-profile campaign by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents against a government ban of cigarette displays at the point of sale.

The campaign claimed that the action, if it was successful in its aim of considerably reducing the sale of cigarettes, would put large numbers of small shopkeepers out of business. The NFRN achieved a partial victory from its lobbying as smaller shops were exempted from the ban for 18 months.

The revelation of the funding will cause embarrassment for the newsagents' federation, which has been accused in the past of being a "puppet of the tobacco industry."

BAT, in admitting the funding in a letter to a Member of Parliament, denied that the arrangement constituted 'underhand tactics'.

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