Missing the point

It was with a wry smile that I read the article “Council to retain anti-smoking official for sake of children” (8th March) by John Robertson.

I was pleased to see the comments from our councillors commited to make a real stand against smoking. As an ex-smoker I’m fully aware of the addictive nature of tobacco.

The voice of reason, Betty Fullerton, the former NHS Shetland chairwoman, said the council would be abdicating its responsibility if it did not do everything it could to warn young people that smoking would kill them, while Frank Robertson said: “We need to get the message through and the message is: Smoking kills.”

Nobody can deny these statements are true, but I wonder if the message would have more credibility if the charitable trust/council (they are one and the same) stood up and said: “Smoking prevention is important, so we’ll consider a more ethical investment for our money?”

At present what they’re saying is: “Yes we’d like to help your children, but we’ll keep investing in exploitative tobacco companies.”

Sadly the charitable trust seems quite happy to invest in tobacco and countless other unethical companies and is unwilling to discuss a more ethical future. So while people are quibbling about £20,000 to fund work trading standards, teachers and youth workers should be doing, aren’t they missing the point? I think they are. We’re fighting a losing battle; you can’t tell children smoking is dangerous when you’re investing in the companies producing the tobacco.

Cathrine Coutts


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