Campaigners urge Government to act as thousands of youngsters take up smoking

The Northern Echo: Estimates suggest that nearly 3,400 North-East children have started smoking in the last six months Estimates suggest that nearly 3,400 North-East children have started smoking in the last six months

MPs in the region are being urged to take a tougher stance on tobacco promotion as new estimates suggest that nearly 3,400 North-East children have started smoking in the last six months.

North-East tobacco control campaigners, Fresh, fear that an 19 children in the region a day have started smoking in the six months since the Government's consultation on plain packaging for tobacco closed, with no decision made by ministers.

Fresh, which is based in County Durham, is calling on MPs to pressure the Government into supporting legislation which will end glossy cigarette packs aimed at young people and protect future generations from tobacco promotion.

Now the Smokefree Action Coalition, an alliance of more than 190 health organisations including Fresh, the Royal College of Physicians, Cancer Research UK, ASH and the British Heart Foundation, wants the Government to publish the results of its consultation and announce that it will go ahead with legislation.

Evidence shows standardised packs would be less attractive to children.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: "The evidence is clear that heavily branded, brightly coloured packs are attractive to children. Most smokers start as children.

"We are urging MPs in our region to tell the Government to commit now to legislation to put all tobacco products in standard packs."

Former smoker and mum, Terri McGrath, 45, from Newton Aycliffe in County Durham, said: "It's disgusting that young female smokers may be influenced by glamorous cigarette packaging. I am shocked that super slim cigarettes are marketed as being fashionable and am so thankful that my 18 year-old daughter and her friends don't smoke.

"But, I fear for those young people who are becoming addicted to these so called trendy products, which will inevitably damage their health.

"Something needs to be done to stop young people from being influenced by these glamorous cigarette packets."

More than 13,500 people and 129 organisations in the North East - including every local authority and primary care organisation - supported calls for standardised packaging.

But Imperial Tobacco spokesman Alex Parsons has described plain packaging as "a disproportionate step" which would create additional burdens for traders.

The tobacco industry has also voiced concerns that plain packaging would make it easier to sell counterfeit cigarettes.

Comments (9)

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8:08am Thu 14 Feb 13

marma495 says...

Wow. 19 children a day have started smoking in this region in the last six months.
Perhaps some details about how we have come to the conclusion that these figures are correct.
Have these 19 children per day been interviewed?
Have we got names and addresses of all these children?
Or is it just a computer generated estimate not worth the paper it is written on.
Likewise there is overwhelming opposition to the plain packs proposal with over half a million people urging the government to reject the idea.
Perhaps this paper should be reporting on facts, not propaganda.
Wow. 19 children a day have started smoking in this region in the last six months. Perhaps some details about how we have come to the conclusion that these figures are correct. Have these 19 children per day been interviewed? Have we got names and addresses of all these children? Or is it just a computer generated estimate not worth the paper it is written on. Likewise there is overwhelming opposition to the plain packs proposal with over half a million people urging the government to reject the idea. Perhaps this paper should be reporting on facts, not propaganda. marma495

9:39am Thu 14 Feb 13

Voice-of-reality says...

In these days of austerity the children should be thanked for providing extra revenue for the government
In these days of austerity the children should be thanked for providing extra revenue for the government Voice-of-reality

11:38am Thu 14 Feb 13

gumbo 45 says...

Voice-of-reality wrote:
In these days of austerity the children should be thanked for providing extra revenue for the government
And what about the health of the children? and the extra revenue will then be used on their health care.. what a rather silly comment
[quote][p][bold]Voice-of-reality[/bold] wrote: In these days of austerity the children should be thanked for providing extra revenue for the government[/p][/quote]And what about the health of the children? and the extra revenue will then be used on their health care.. what a rather silly comment gumbo 45

12:19pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Voice-of-reality says...

Not at all silly- with the obese being deprived of medical care the same will eventually happen to smokers - (I would also advocate that those who get electrocuted and burnt through stealing electricity cables - yesterday's echo - should receive no treatment). One must remember that the shorter life expectancy of smokers saves the tax payer money (even with the added costs to the NHS) with regard to the pension bill. If people are going to smoke - they will smoke - and long may they continue to lay down their lives for the financial betterment of the rest of us. I also advocate that people should only be allowed to breed if they can afford to keep the children; rather than expecting the state to do it for them.
Not at all silly- with the obese being deprived of medical care the same will eventually happen to smokers - (I would also advocate that those who get electrocuted and burnt through stealing electricity cables - yesterday's echo - should receive no treatment). One must remember that the shorter life expectancy of smokers saves the tax payer money (even with the added costs to the NHS) with regard to the pension bill. If people are going to smoke - they will smoke - and long may they continue to lay down their lives for the financial betterment of the rest of us. I also advocate that people should only be allowed to breed if they can afford to keep the children; rather than expecting the state to do it for them. Voice-of-reality

5:02pm Thu 14 Feb 13

chas says...

It is illegal for shops to sell tobacco products to anybody under the age of 18 so the Government should be looking at where these children get their cigarettes from. Children can easily get hold of cigarettes from smugglers and counterfeiters. If the Government was to cut the duty on tobacco products there would be less smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes around.
It is illegal for shops to sell tobacco products to anybody under the age of 18 so the Government should be looking at where these children get their cigarettes from. Children can easily get hold of cigarettes from smugglers and counterfeiters. If the Government was to cut the duty on tobacco products there would be less smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes around. chas

7:40pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Parmenion says...

Dear Mr Cameron. I'm a counterfeiter and I'm wondering if there's anything you can do to help make my job a bit easier. Thanks.

Plain packs = Plain Nonsense.
Dear Mr Cameron. I'm a counterfeiter and I'm wondering if there's anything you can do to help make my job a bit easier. Thanks. Plain packs = Plain Nonsense. Parmenion

10:54am Fri 15 Feb 13

Angry Man says...

As a former smoker who quit about five years ago, I was horrified when I found out low tars meant nothing and you get lung cancer at the same rate. Unless you're a committed 40 a dayer, most smokers do kid yourself you're minimising the harm. How can the cigarette companies still be allowed to sell them in whites and reds suggesting one colour's less dangerous over a lifetime than another?
The tobacco firms are liers who can't be trusted. Their words are poison. They want kids to smoke and are not stupid. Why else would they put so much effort into fighting this? Put them in the nasty boxes, it won't stop all kids but will make them think twice.
As a former smoker who quit about five years ago, I was horrified when I found out low tars meant nothing and you get lung cancer at the same rate. Unless you're a committed 40 a dayer, most smokers do kid yourself you're minimising the harm. How can the cigarette companies still be allowed to sell them in whites and reds suggesting one colour's less dangerous over a lifetime than another? The tobacco firms are liers who can't be trusted. Their words are poison. They want kids to smoke and are not stupid. Why else would they put so much effort into fighting this? Put them in the nasty boxes, it won't stop all kids but will make them think twice. Angry Man

11:22am Sat 16 Feb 13

gowertan says...

marma495 wrote:
Wow. 19 children a day have started smoking in this region in the last six months.
Perhaps some details about how we have come to the conclusion that these figures are correct.
Have these 19 children per day been interviewed?
Have we got names and addresses of all these children?
Or is it just a computer generated estimate not worth the paper it is written on.
Likewise there is overwhelming opposition to the plain packs proposal with over half a million people urging the government to reject the idea.
Perhaps this paper should be reporting on facts, not propaganda.
The article states that these are estimates, however there is plenty of research and I suggest they are based on factual evidence - probably figures taken by CRUK from Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England (2000 to 2010).
http://www.ic.nhs.uk
/pubs/sdd10fullrepor
t. This makes interesting reading.

There is also strong support for Standardised Cigarette Packaging:
- The public support plain, standard packaging:
A poll by YouGov for ASH found that overall 62% of adults in England support
ed this while just 11% opposed the measure. Even among smokers for every 5 who oppose there are 6 who support. Total sample size was 10,000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th February and 16th March 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in England.

- The public health community support plain standard packaging:
The Smokefree Action Coalition an alliance of over 190 health organisations including medical royal colleges, the BMA, the Trading Standards Institute, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Faculty of Public Health, the Association of Directors of Public Health and ASH, all support the introduction of standard packs.
http://www.smokefree
action.org.uk/about.
html

- There is cross party support at Westminster for standard packs:
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health supports the introduction of standard packs.
[quote][p][bold]marma495[/bold] wrote: Wow. 19 children a day have started smoking in this region in the last six months. Perhaps some details about how we have come to the conclusion that these figures are correct. Have these 19 children per day been interviewed? Have we got names and addresses of all these children? Or is it just a computer generated estimate not worth the paper it is written on. Likewise there is overwhelming opposition to the plain packs proposal with over half a million people urging the government to reject the idea. Perhaps this paper should be reporting on facts, not propaganda.[/p][/quote]The article states that these are estimates, however there is plenty of research and I suggest they are based on factual evidence - probably figures taken by CRUK from Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England (2000 to 2010). http://www.ic.nhs.uk /pubs/sdd10fullrepor t. This makes interesting reading. There is also strong support for Standardised Cigarette Packaging: - The public support plain, standard packaging: A poll by YouGov for ASH found that overall 62% of adults in England support ed this while just 11% opposed the measure. Even among smokers for every 5 who oppose there are 6 who support. Total sample size was 10,000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th February and 16th March 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in England. - The public health community support plain standard packaging: The Smokefree Action Coalition an alliance of over 190 health organisations including medical royal colleges, the BMA, the Trading Standards Institute, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Faculty of Public Health, the Association of Directors of Public Health and ASH, all support the introduction of standard packs. http://www.smokefree action.org.uk/about. html - There is cross party support at Westminster for standard packs: The All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health supports the introduction of standard packs. gowertan

7:29pm Sat 16 Feb 13

chas says...

'A poll by YouGov for ASH'. Peter Kellner who is president of YouGov is also a trustee of ASH so there is a BIG conflict of interest.
'A poll by YouGov for ASH'. Peter Kellner who is president of YouGov is also a trustee of ASH so there is a BIG conflict of interest. chas

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