Tobacco people fume in Caracas

Tobacco industry spokesmen here are angry with a government ban on cigarette advertising on television -- and the expected midyear extension of the ruling to radio as well.

Monitor Latin America correspondent James Nelson Goodsell writes, however, that the government apparently plans to hold the line against pressure from both the tobacco industry and advertising groups. The two interest groups claim that without TV advertising the tobacco industry loses its best ad medium and also will not be able to "report improvements" in its products.

And the advertising groups say they will lose close to $15 million yearly, with a ban on similar radio advertising losing another $3 million. But the government insists that all studies suggest that tobacco in all its forms is injurious to the consumer's health -- and thus the ban "is a worthy one and one that will remain," according to a gover nment spokesman.

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