Staff reporter Manufacturers and retail outlets in the tobacco industry have launched a State-backed campaign in the Balearics, aimed at preventing the under-age consumption of tobacco. The strategy consists of the distribution of 4'000 posters around tabacconists and outlets in the food and beverage sector, bearing the slogan: “If you are under-age, I can't sell and you shouldn't buy”. The assistant director of the Tobacco Companies' Association (AET), Juan Muñoz, presented the project at a Press conference yesterday, accompanied by the chairman of the Balearic Association of Tobacconists, Guillermo Mas, and Eduado Suárez of Majorca's Food and Beverage Association. Muñoz highlighted the fact that his association, which “represents all tobacco producers in Spain”, has invested 500'000 euros in the development of this campaign, which apart from the posters, involves distribution of 150'000 stickers bearing the same slogan and an equal number of letters aimed at traders. The Association of Tobacco Companies asks all traders in the industry to do their best to get the message across to the public, and that they should commit to safeguarding the health of under-age customers, over and beyond the straightforward state prohibition on selling tobacco to people under 16 years of age. The publicity material will be distributed across the Islands' 342 existing tobacconists and some 3'700 establishments in the food and beverage sector selected according to their popularity with under-age customers. Muñoz affirmed that his assocation is not in possession of figures on the incidence of tobacco consumption amongst minors but he was able to verify, based on studies undertaken by the Ministry of Health, that youngsters are starting the habit of smoking at an increasingly later age. Regarding mounting restrictions on cigarette publicity, the assistant director of the Association of Tobacco Companies considered that “tobacco advertising is not aimed at encouraging people to smoke more, but is rather more a competitive attempt to get adult smokers to change their brands”. He put forward various examples to demonstrate that tobacco products always “come accompanied with strictly controlled government health warnings” and that publicity is deliberatly kept away from areas frequented by youngsters.