SPL stars join bid to stub out tobacco industry cash handouts


By Michael MacLeod

SCOTLAND’S top footballers have backed a campaign to show the red card to a £300million taxpayer handout to the tobacco trade.

Euro MP Alyn Smith has signed up the skippers from Rangers, Hearts and Aberdeen in a battle against public money supporting tobacco farmers.

David Weir, Michael Stewart and Mark Kerr have all joined the SNP MEP’s campaign, it is hoped could tackle cancer death levels.

Around one third of the population of Europe smokes, and the habit is estimated to be behind one million fatalities.

Smith said: “Quite simply, subsidising the growing of tobacco equates to subsidising the cause of cancer.

“It’s great that these Scottish sporting heroes have come on board.”

Smith’s campaign calls for a reform of rules currently handing cash to tobacco growers which allows them to drive down the price of the crop.

“Massive cash giveaway”

He claims that without subsidies, cigarette production would not be financially feasible.

Rangers captain David Weir said: “Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health and we need to do everything we can to discourage young people from starting.”

Heart of Midlothian skipper Michael Stewart added: “It’s about time we showed the red card to the massive cash giveaway to the tobacco trade.”

Recent studies blamed 19,000 deaths on passive smoking among people who have never even smoked.