Carlisle takes on tobacco cause

The Tobacco Manufacturers Association has hired former Conservative MP John Carlisle to replace PR chief Clive Turner.

The Tobacco Manufacturers Association has hired former Conservative

MP John Carlisle to replace PR chief Clive Turner.



Carlisle, who stood down as MP for Luton North last September after 18

years, joined the TMA on 1 May. He is currently sharing responsibilities

with Turner, who retires on 31 July.



The TMA represents the interests of its members and acts as a voice in

the political arena. Its members are: Imperial Tobacco, Gallagher and

Rothmans (UK) with associates British American Tobacco, Philip Morris,

RJ Reynolds and Japan Tobacco Inc.



’Our key task is to ensure manufacturers are treated fairly by

government, especially over contentious issues like advertising,’ said

Carlisle.



During his time as an MP Carlisle’s pro-tobacco stance helped to defeat

a Private Member’s Bill which tried to ban tobacco advertising in

1994.



He is also known for his opposition to sanctions against South Africa

and his criticism of John Major.



Carlisle has worked as a paid consultant for Simmons PR Design, which

had a tobacco company as a client, although Carlisle said he had never

worked with a tobacco company directly. At the TMA he will report to CEO

David Swan.



’We’ve got a new government with a new agenda,’ said Swan. ’We expect to

be taking a very robust line and John is not worried about putting his

head above the parapet.’



Commenting on reports that the tobacco industry is considering a

voluntary ban to pre-empt moves from the new government to legislate

against advertising, Turner said: ’We are adamant in our belief that it

won’t reduce consumption.



Advertising is about trying to persuade customers to switch brands or to

maintain brand loyalty.’



The tobacco industry currently operates under a voluntary agreement,

which is due to be reviewed in 1999.



’What will heavy-handed legislation do?’ said Turner. ’It will bring a

nice warm feeling to the anti-tobacco lobby. We are anxious to avoid

some kind of political gesture.’



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