01 August 1999

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO offshoot Benson & Hedges plans to circumvent the forthcoming European ban on tobacco advertising by putting its name to coffee. The move was branded ‘cynical’ by anti-smoking pressure group ASH (Action on Smoking and Health). which believes Benson and Hedges is also trying to form a link between cigarette-smoking and coffee breaks whilst cashing in on the current popularity of coffee bars. Deepak Rawal of the Health Education Authority concurs: ‘Tobacco companies will try every trick to promote their brands in the face of the advertising ban. Coffee, with its increasing appeal to the youth market, is as good a way as any.’