Sunderland reaction to cigarette packaging plans

British Heart Foundation omock up of a plain cigarette packet
British Heart Foundation omock up of a plain cigarette packet
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PLANS to make cigarette packaging plain and uniform have been dismissed by Wearsiders who do not think they will stop people smoking.

A UK-wide consultation on Government plans to introduce mandatory plain packaging has just ended, with the Coalition due to make a decision when the responses have been considered.

It was launched four months ago by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley who said he wanted tobacco companies to have “no business” in the UK.

Plain packaging is seen as the next step by campaigners in discouraging young people from smoking.

It could mean every sign of individual brands, from their logo, colour or typeface, being replaced by standard packaging simply carrying warnings and the name of the cigarettes.

Packets are likely to be a dark olive green.

Research published there has suggested that cigarette packets have increasingly become an important marketing tool as restrictions on advertising and sponsorship have been brought in.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of campaign group Ash (Action on Smoking and Health), said: “Plain, standardised packaging of its lethal products frightens Big Tobacco silly because it threatens its profits.

“That’s why the industry has devoted millions of pounds to put pressure on politicians and prevent the government from going ahead with this measure.”

Ash hopes that plainer packaging will not attract young people to smoke.

But Wearsiders have given their verdict on the plans and say they will not make any difference.

Andy Simpson, a student from Pennywell, has smoked for four years and said he does not think changes to packaging will put people off lighting up.

“It won’t make a difference to me,” said the 17-year-old.

“I think the only thing that puts me off is the pictures they put on cigarette packs, showing the damage it can do.

“Making the packs plainer won’t change much.”

Dianne Parker, 40, from Pennywell, agreed.

“I don’t think it will make a difference,” she said. “If they smoke, they smoke. 
 “Something like this won’t make them stop. It wouldn’t stop my son from smoking.”

Ronald Birch believes kids start smoking very young, and doesn’t think the Government’s scheme would work.

“They start smoking when they’re at school,” said the 76-year-old, from Pennywell. “They’ll just do it anyway.

“This won’t make a bit of difference to them.”

Marian Gettins, 76, from Pennywell, also doesn’t think that smokers would think twice when faced with plain packages.

“Nothing will stop them. They will smoke no matter what the package looks like,” she said.

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