'Alex Higgins leaves Stretford police station'. In 1972, Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins (b 1949) became the youngest ever snooker world champion, winning a few days after his 23rd birthday. He won the world championship again in 1982, and was Irish champion from 1972 until 1980. He won the Benson and Hedges Masters twice and also the 1983 Coral UK championship. In 2002, Higgins and 50 other cigarette smokers lost their action for damages against cigarette companies. Higgins, who was a notoriously heavy smoker and contracted cancer of the throat, had claimed that he was never adequately warned of the danger to his health. Tobacco sponsorship of sporting events has since been banned, with the last World Championships to be sponsored by Embassy taking place in 2005.
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