WEARSIDERS are being asked to back a charity’s campaign to help stop children taking up smoking.
Cancer Research UK is launching “The Answer is Plain”, which hopes to get support for the end of branding on cigarette packets.
The charity’s call comes as a new report, called The Packaging of Tobacco, says tobacco companies lure in young people with glitzy packaging.
A public consultation was announced this month by the Government, which could see restrictions on packaging introduced.
A video has also been made by Cancer Research UK showing 11-year-olds speaking about what attracts them to cigarette packs.
About 1,200 women and 1,400 men are diagnosed with lung cancer in the North East each year, with smoking a factor in most cases.
Paul Wadsworth, Cancer Research UK’s spokesman for the North East, 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.”
Professor Robert West, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco research at University College London, said: “The research evidence is compelling that cigarette packaging is attractive to young people.
“Once the young person tries smoking, nicotine has a chance to do its work in turning him or her into an addict.”
The public can sign the petition at www.theanswerisplain.org.
•To see The Answer is Plain video, click here