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Cancer Council unaware tobacco giant behind FOI request on child smoking habits

British American Tobacco criticised in Australia for not being ‘upfront about its involvement’ in freedom of information request for survey data

Melissa Davey

Cancer Council Victoria says it had no idea a British American Tobacco worker was behind a freedom of information request for data on the tobacco use and buying habits of thousands of school children.

For the past 30 years, the council has surveyed children aged between 12 and 17 about their age, gender and location, access to money, alcohol and tobacco consumption and buying habits, and preferred brands.

The director of the Victorian Cancer Council, Todd Harper, said a lawyer had requested the survey data under the Freedom of Information Act, but the request was rejected because it was not in the public interest to release it.

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