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We have all heard of anti-prizes awarded to highlight particularly bad behaviour by the tobacco industry or its executives—often they are in the USA and feature the word “Butt”—but the “Cockroach of the year” award was new to many when it scuttled into the limelight recently. It is something Swedish colleagues working on the Non-Smoking Generation project have devised, and for 2005, the winner was the unfortunate Professor Ragnar Rylander, who sprang to prominence due to his apparent capacity for forgetting how much he had done behind the scenes to help Philip Morris.
The decision was made on a large youth community internet website called Lunarstorm, and around 12 000 people voted. Other, unsuccessful nominees included an executive of the advertising agency McCann-Erikson’s Swedish branch, who sits on the board of a snus manufacturer (with the appropriate sounding name Skruf); a member of a hospital board who is also on the board of Swedish Match; and a television executive who makes “docusoap” programmes featuring young people smoking and drinking, which go out in the daytime when many children watch television. Perhaps every country should have an anti-award for those who put tobacco before health. Any suggestions for titles?