October 6, 2008

Fury Over City Travel Agent’s Cigs Advert for Family Holiday


HOLIDAY giant Thomas Cook was today slammed for promoting a family holiday in Spain as a chance to bring home thousands of duty free cigarettes, The "incentive" was displayed in the window of a branch of the travel agent in the East End of Glasgow - the area with the worst record in the UK for lung cancer.

It was at the foot of a notice at Parkhead Forge advertising a GBP779 holiday for a family of four to Salou in Costa Dorada.

And it read: Bring back up to 3200 ciggies each.

The average life expectancy for men in the East End has dropped to just 64 and people living in Parkhead, Bridgeton, Calton and Dalmarnock are almost three times more likely to die of heart disease and lung cancer than anywhere else in the country.

One shocked customer, who contacted the Evening Times, said: "Thomas Cook seem to be targeting families in the east end because they don't use these tactics in other shops.

"It's in bad taste because it looks like they are trying to profit from the area's horrendous health record."

Councillor George Redmond, who represents Calton, said:

"When everyone's efforts are focused on promoting a healthy East End this kind of thing is very unhelpful.

"It smacks of desperation on Thomas Cook's part and shows what they think of their customers.

"We are making inroads in decreasing the number of smokers here but this shows we still have a long way to go to challenge perceptions."

A recent World Health Organisation report revealed life expectancy for a male child born in Calton is just 54.

Lung cancer remains the most common cancer in Scotland and accounts for 17-per cent cent of all cases of the disease.

Last year, a report found the average smoker in Parkhead spends almost GBP600 a year on cigs, the second-highest figure in Scotland behind smokers in the city's Anderston area.

A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook said: "We would like to thank the Evening Times for bringing this inappropriate sign to our attention and sincerely apologise for any offence caused by this message.

"The window card was not sanctioned by our central sales team but put up locally by the Parkhead store. The card has now been removed."

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

(c) 2008 Evening Times; Glasgow (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.