While the UK government remains unsure about the effectiveness of removing glamorous packaging on cigarettes, eight in ten women have less doubt and agree that bright, colourful packaging tends to make products more attractive to children aged under 18 according to new figures* published by Cancer Research UK today (Monday).
The YouGov survey of more than 2000 women in the UK also showed that 85 per cent of all mothers and grandmothers with children under 18 believe that children should not be exposed to any tobacco marketing. And 92 per cent would be worried about their children if they became addicted to smoking before the age of 18.
These data add to the growing support behind Cancer Research UK’s campaign to remove all attractive and stylish branding which add to the deadly allure of cigarette packets, while increasing the coverage of picture health warnings.
Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s head of tobacco control, said: “Smoking causes more than eight out of 10 cases of lung cancer, and over 100,000 tobacco-related deaths every year. We also know that starting smoking at a young age greatly increases your risk of lung cancer which is why the majority of mums and grans believe no child should be exposed to tobacco advertising.
“We’re urging the Government to introduce plain, standardised packaging of tobacco, which, as well as being a popular move, would show that the government cares more about the health of future generations than the profits of the tobacco industry.
“We’d like to see the Government protect children from the lure of sophisticated tobacco industry marketing and introduce plain, standardised packaging as a way to reduce the number of young people who take up smoking.”
Over 200,000 children take up smoking every year, with more girls smoking regularly than boys.
Sarah Woolnough, executive director of policy at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s shocking that a product that kills half of all its long term users can be marketed to children as though it were a bag of sweets or makeup. We know that standardised packs with large health warnings make cigarettes less attractive to young people and the dangers of smoking clearer. We urge the Government to act now and use this unique opportunity to put the lives of children first.”
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* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2278 women, of whom 533 were mothers of under 18 year olds, and of whom 561 were grandmothers of under 18 year olds. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th April – 3rd May 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).