LONDON, England – Anti-smoking campaigners yesterday condemned a tobacco giant for cashing in on cancer. Japan Tobacco, makers of Camel and Winston, have signed a deal with a biotech company for exclusive rights to market cancer vaccines.

But anti-smoking groups say a vaccine promoted by a tobacco company would encourage smoking in the false belief that it would make it safe. They say it would not stop smokers dying of other tobacco-related diseases, such as heart disease and emphysema.

Anti-smoking activist Clive Bates said: “It is repugnant that tobacco companies will profit from selling cigarettes and then profit from the disease that they cause.

“It’s the remorseless and hideous logic of the tobacco industry at work – if your customers are going down with cancer, you might as well try to make some money from their suffering once you’ve sold them a lifetime supply of cigarettes.

“What kind of sick minds think it’s better to cause lung cancer, then profit from its treatment, than to prevent it by reducing smoking?”