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Sri Lanka: batting for health
  1. David Simpson

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    Sri Lankan cricket captain Sanath Jayasuriya telling young people “Let’s walk towards a healthy lifestyle without smoking” in a health ministry campaign.

    In the face of the tobacco industry’s incessant, high pressure promotion of smoking as a fashionable, desirable part of life for young people, health groups keep plugging away at the real message. One notable success was achieved earlier in the year when Sanath Jayasuriya, the Sri Lankan cricket captain, agreed to take part in a health ministry campaign against smoking. Under the headline ‘Don’t get yourself burnt!’, Jayasuriya tells young people, the poster’s target audience, “Let’s walk towards a healthy lifestyle without smoking”. Considering the national importance of cricket, originally introduced to the country along with cigarettes by Sri Lanka’s former colonial rulers, the UK, this was a ball hit for six by an important new player for the health side.

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    British American Tobacco (BAT) is continuing to promote its Sportsman brand in Kenya as if smoking it were an integral part of the country’s development plan. Just as previous ads featured competitions to win a business (see Tobacco Control 2001;10:207), a recent ad offered prizes to benefit the winners’ communities, to be presented in the winners’ names, such as agricultural fertiliser, market stalls and kiosks, and even a new water supply for the village.