The advertising and newspaper societies yesterday described a proposed ban on tobacco advertising as an irresponsible move that would jeopardise jobs. The Newspaper Society said such a ban 'poses a serious threat to the cornerstone of the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong' because it hindered flow of information about a legal product. Instead the Government should consider 'more positive' alternatives, such as improving the warning sign on cigarette packs, the society said. The Association of Accredited Advertising Agents said the proposals were being rushed to Exco without waiting for analysis of the economic impact, even though initial research suggested a ban would swipe $1 billion from the economy and threaten thousands of jobs. But anti-smoking campaigner Dr Judith Mackay rejected their arguments as self-interest. Many legal products and services could not be advertised, including her own medical profession and even funeral parlours, she said. 'I never heard these guys coming out in support of funeral directors' right to advertise,' she said. 'Thailand, Singapore, Australia, even Mongolia has slid way ahead of us. Do we want to be seen falling behind the rest of Asia?' she asked. 'When they talk about freedom they are talking about the freedom to promote a product that kills one in two people.'