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British singers criticised for taking tobacco money

Joss Stone, Craig David and Lisa Stanfield under fire for appearing at Indonesian music festival sponsored by cigarette firm.

Joss Stone in 2012

8:17AM GMT 01 Mar 2013


Joss Stone, Craig David and Lisa Stanfield have been criticised for promoting the aims of “Big Tobacco” by agreeing to perform at Indonesia’s Java Jazz Festival, which is sponsored by one of the country’s largest cigarette companies.

The event’s main sponsor is Djarum, the country’s third biggest tobacco company. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the festival in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta and all three British singers are scheduled to perform on a stage promoting one of Djarum’s leading brands.

Research shows that more than 200,000 people a year die in the country from smoking-related disease and Amanda Sandford, research manager for Action on Smoking and Health, told the Independent newspaper: “For decades the tobacco industry has used sponsorship to promote its brands to impressionable young people. Most countries have now banned this and in response, the industry has focused on exploiting the lack of regulation in countries like Indonesia.

“The fact that musicians and entertainers are willing to take Big Tobacco’s money adds to the problem. We call on all entertainers to make a public commitment not to accept tobacco money and to withdraw from any existing contracts.”

David, who last month signed a new deal with Universal records and is due to set out on a world tour, rejected the claims, saying he promoted healthy living and was against smoking but legislation against tobacco was a matter for the Indonesian authorities. The British singers do not have a direct deal with Djarum and the Independent reported that representatives of Lisa Stansfield declined to comment and publicists for Joss Stone did not respond to requests for comment.

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