JT steps in to snuff out smokes

Sunday Herald Sun - - NEWS - JAMES PHELPS AND JANE HANSEN

IT was the 320kmh call from a bil­lion­aire on a bul­let train that con­vinced rugby league’s great­est player to be­come an anti-to­bacco cru­sader.

Min­ing mag­nate An­drew “Twiggy’’ For­rest was rocketing to­wards Tokyo on a high­speed train when he called Johnathan Thurston to ask the North Queens­land Cow­boys cap­tain to spear­head his push to have the le­gal age of smok­ing raised to 21.

The Sun­day Her­ald Sun can re­veal the NRL le­gend will to­day be an­nounced as the face of Aus­tralia’s sixth-rich­est man’s anti-smok­ing cam­paign fol­low­ing the bizarre 15-minute in­ter­na­tional call.

“I was ac­tu­ally a lit­tle bit in awe when he called,’’ Thurston said. “I am aware of his char­ity work and I know he sup­ports some in­cred­i­ble causes, es­pe­cially when it comes to the in­dige­nous com­mu­nity, so I was cer­tainly happy to be hav­ing a chat with him.’’

Mr For­rest, who is chal­leng­ing all state politi­cians to lift the smok­ing age, said his To­bacco 21 cam­paign was aimed at break­ing the busi­ness model of to­bacco com­pa­nies, which tar­get the 17-20 age group that is most likely to be swayed by peer pres­sure.

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