'Inappropriate' anti-smoking ad pulled
From correspondents in London
December 11, 2006
BRITAIN today delayed the airing of an "inappropriate" anti-smoking advertisement because it warned viewers that cigarettes contained the radioactive isotope that killed ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.
The advert, part of the "Smoke is Poison" campaign, was due to have been aired for the first time yesterday evening, but officials at the Department of Health decided against it.
The series of radio and television commercials were designed to assert that most people know very little about what is actually in a cigarette, and claim that they contain a number of poisons.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said the campaign had only been postponed and the decision "does not change the importance or influence of the campaign".
"There are a number of poisonous chemicals in cigarette smoke and we have an excellent history of tackling smoking.
"This advert is only being held in the short term."
Mr Litvinenko fell ill on November 1 and died about three weeks later with large quantities of the radioactive substance polonium-210 found in his urine. His friends and relatives have blamed the Kremlin, a charge Russia has repeatedly denied.