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Just as Ali Baba is forever linked to the 40 thieves, are tobacco manufacturers always to be associated with disease, death and deceit? Swedish Match (SM), some say, is different. It is allegedly more ethical. Recent events in South Africa show that the company can "get down and dirty" with the very best, in trying to bend the law to its advantage.
In 2006, subsidiaries of SM, Leonard Dingler and Brasant, distributed promotional brochures for snus in South Africa, even though the advertising of tobacco products has been prohibited since 2001. The brochure variously claimed that snus was safer than smoking, could be enjoyed where smoking was prohibited and was environmentally safe.
The National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the brochure was illegal and should be withdrawn. Leonard Dingler responded that snus was …
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