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(June 8, 2001) RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazil's Health Ministry, as part of its fight against smoking, is forcing tobacco marketers to place a series of shocking images illustrating the dangerous effects of smoking on cigarette packs.

Among the eight images chosen by the Ministry are a doctor trying to revive a dying patient and a woman in a hospital emergency room and a premature baby.

Along with the images, the government also insists that the packets contain the text "There are no safe levels of consumption of these substances."

Until now, tobacco companies have been limited to printing warning messages such as "Smoking harms your health" or "Smoking puts your baby in risk."

With only a 90-day period to comply with the new ruling, the Brazilian Tobacco Producers Association has predictably been up in arms, declaring in a local daily that this decision constitutes terrorism against consumers and threatens to affect the estimated 175,000 people who work in the tobacco industry. -- Claudia Penteado

Copyright June 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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