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"What company would stand for this?" asked the headline, above a blank olive green fizzy drink can with the unbranded word ”Cola” on it. The legislation will "destroy brands that are worth millions if not billions of dollars", the ad informed us. And "no company would stand for having its brands taken away". Too bloody right. The truth, finally. This legislation will see the potential destruction of brands that have been legally built up over many years. Quite simply, this puts the spotlight squarely where it should be. This is a debate about the freedom of the marketplace, and the boundaries of government restrictions to legal trade. The government, in my opinion, has no right whatsoever to actively seek the destruction of brands that are legally traded in the marketplace. Yes, it has every right to persuade people to choose not to smoke. And it has a duty to publicise the health risks of smoking, if for no other reason than relieving the pressure on the public purse of the exorbitant costs of treatment. It also has a duty to protect children, as it does with pornography, violent entertainment and other dangerous activities. By all means, make smoking illegal. You’ll get no complaints from me. But if the government is not prepared to go down that path, then it has no right to wantonly destroy brands that abide by the law. And the companies and shareholders of those brands have every right to fight for their survival. For once, my sympathy lies entirely with the tobacco companies.