Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s executive team is supporting the government’s consultation on plain tobacco packaging and encouraging colleagues to do the same.
Every year 340,000 children in England try smoking and 200,000 under-16s become regular smokers. Research shows they are more likely to be attracted by the designed promotional tobacco packs, than by plain packaging.
Evidence suggests that the impact of health warnings is lost on branded packs. Some brands are marketed in shiny packs or as ‘super slims’ which are particularly attractive to young women. By introducing plain packaging, the health warnings will become bigger and more eye-catching against a plain background.
Yvonne Doyle, Director of Public Health for NHS South of England said: “The idea behind this proposal is to stop packaging itself acting as an advert to youngsters, tempting them into a highly-addictive habit that could seriously damage their health and lead to an early death. We urge colleagues to participate in the consultation and make their views about plain packaging heard.”
If introduced, this new legislation will help to discourage children from smoking, as it will:
• make tobacco packaging look less attractive
• increase the effectiveness of health warnings
• prevent the use of misleading colours and branding to create false beliefs that some cigarettes are less harmful than others
Yvonne Doyle said “Quitting smoking is the single most important thing that smokers can do to improve their health. But even better is not starting in the first place.”
An online petition backing the plain packaging has already been signed by more than 75,000 people. It will be submitted for consideration by the Government as part of its consultation. You can help support this campaign by promoting it in your local area and encouraging people to find out more and sign up at www.plainpacksprotect.co.uk.
The cost of treating diseases caused by smoking is approximately £2.7 billion a year. Around £380 million a year is being saved by the NHS as a result of public health strategies such as the ban on tobacco advertising and the creation of the stop smoking services which have resulted in fewer people smoking.
The government’s consultation closes on 10 July. For details, visit: http://consultations.dh.gov.uk/
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