Cancer charity calls for support in packaging push

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People are being urged to back a hard-hitting campaign launched by Cancer Research UK aimed at discouraging youngsters from starting to smoke.

The charity is encouraging everyone across the region to sign a petition in support of ‘The Answer is Plain’ campaign which calls for all branding to be removed from tobacco packaging.

The campaign launch is accompanied by a new report called The Packaging of Tobacco Products and a powerful short film that illustrates children’s attraction to the slickly designed cigarette packs.

The report reveals how young people and women are identified as target groups at which tobacco marketing is aimed. And this is reflected in scenes from the film which shows six to 11 year old school children innocently discussing what attracts them to the brightly coloured and attractively designed cigarette packs.

Helen Johnstone of Cancer Research UK said: “This footage provides us with a chilling insight into how powerful branding and marketing can be. Children are drawn to the colourful and slick designs without having a full understanding of how deadly the product is inside the pack.

“That’s why we’re asking people across the region to help us end the packet racket. Our research shows the value attached to packaging by the tobacco industry. Parents will know first-hand that children are affected by marketing and branding. When that marketing is attracting children to cigarettes, we need to give young people in the East of England one less reason to start smoking.”

Cancer Research UK’s report reviews tobacco industry documents from over the last half century as the future of tobacco packaging is being considered in a UK-wide government consultation.

Several internal tobacco industry documents describe how packaging has been developed to appeal to new smokers, notably teenagers, through its size, colour and design.

People in the East of England can sign Cancer Research UK’s ‘The Answer is Plain’ petition at www.theanswerisplain.org.

To watch the powerful film of children discussing cigarette branding visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_z-4S8iicc&feature=youtu.be