Mike Gapes MP is backing a Cancer Research UK campaign aimed at discouraging young people from starting to smoke.
Mike met constituent and campaigner Penny Christophe, from Ilford, at Westminster to discuss the charity’s The answer is plain campaign, which calls for all branding to be removed from tobacco packaging.
Penny, 23, is an ambassador for Cancer Research UK and was keen to share research which shows that striking logos and distinctive packet designs make cigarettes more appealing to children.
It was a pleasure to meet Penny and listen to her story. I want to do what I can to support effective measures to beat cancer and I was shocked to hear of the impact that tobacco marketing has on children. I wholeheartedly support The answer is plain campaign and I’ll be taking up this vitally important issue with the Secretary of State for Health.
Cancer Research UK’s call to protect children from tobacco marketing comes as the government consults on whether all tobacco should be sold in packs of uniform size, shape and design, otherwise known as ‘plain packs.’
Medical administrator, Penny said:
We must protect our children from the dangers of tobacco. I don’t want children being subjected to clever marketing techniques from an industry that has to recruit 100,000 new smokers each year to replace those who die from smoking. After losing six relatives to cancer, I’m delighted that Mike is backing The answer is plain campaign and I urge my fellow constituents in Ilford South to show their support by signing the campaign petition.
Smoking is the most important preventable cause of cancer and is responsible for one in four deaths from the disease in the UK.
Sarah Woolnough, Director of Policy at Cancer Research UK said:
Around 157,000 11-15 year olds start smoking every year so we must do more to make cigarettes less appealing to children. Girls are attracted to brands which have long, slim cigarettes with sophisticated names and glamorous packaging, while boys tend to respond to designs with a rugged, macho image. In an age when any parent tries to teach their children about the dangers of this deadly addiction, cigarette packs are sending a very different message.
Over 80% of adults in the UK believe that children shouldn’t be exposed to tobacco marketing* so we’re urging MPs and their constituents to help us end the packet racket and give millions of children one less reason to start smoking.