THE Tobacco Institute has accused the Government of inadequate consultation before introducing sweeping new proposals in its anti-smoking battle. According to the proposed Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance, tobacco advertisements in the print media and billboards will be weeded out two years after passage of the bill. The Health and Welfare Branch is to table the amendment to the Legislative Council in December. General secretary of the Tobacco Institute, Hayley Kan Mee-lin, said the industry had been left in the dark about the extent of the new proposals. 'The department said it had considered the public view but there was actually no public or industry consultation,' she said. 'Tobacco products are legal products and we are doing legitimate business. Why does the Government want to get us out of business?' The measures are aimed primarily at discouraging young people from taking up the habit. However, Ms Kan said: 'There hasn't been any advertising in Singapore since the 1970s, but the number of teenage smokers has doubled there in the past five years. 'Young people are more prone to peer pressure, their sense of curiosity and parents' attitude when they decide to smoke.' The institute's seven member companies will hold round-table talks next month to see what further action they can take. Derek Gould, principal assistant secretary for Health and Welfare, said the tobacco industry had been kept informed. 'It is a step-by-step and on-going approach, in line with the world trend and public concerns,' Mr Gould said. In future, indirect promotion of brand names by non-tobacco products will not be allowed. For instance merchandise bearing Marlboro Classics labels - which belongs to the company making the cigarettes - cannot be sold. Mr Gould said Marlboro Classics were used to promote the cigarettes, an activity the department would no longer permit. Sponsorship of sport and cultural events, however, will be allowed to continue. Secretary for the Hong Kong Football Association, Vincent Yuen Mun-chuen, said it was starting to seek sponsorship from other companies, although the amount of sponsorship from tobacco companies was generally higher.