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Trust defends tobacco's funding

Published: 6:23PM Sunday January 05, 2003

A children's health education group is defending its decision to accept sponsorship cash from a tobacco company.

British and American tobacco has given the Life Education Trust $100,000 a year for the past three years.

That has angered some who say taking money from the cigarette giant is immoral.

British American Tobacco has 77% of the New Zealand cigarette market.

Life Education Trust's Trevor Grice sees nothing wrong with taking the tobacco giant's money - his group also accepts funding from alcohol giant Lion.

He says the tobacco company has given money that is needed to take non-smoking messages into primary schools.

But an anti-smoking group says tobacco companies fund health groups to get them on side, and to make themselves more acceptable in the community.

"Taking funding from a tobacco industry is actually like taking money from Saddam Hussein for delivering a peace study programme, its actually immoral," says ASH's Trish Fraser.

British American Tobacco rejects the criticism.

The Trust says it will continue taking money from whoever offers it, because the government's health sponsorship council has twice refused it funding.

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