Video nasty to put Sunderland children off smoking

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CHILDREN on Wearside are today being told of the tactics used by tobacco companies to get them lighting up thanks to a new hard-hitting video.

The film is being launched online ahead of a debate in the House of Lords on legislation which could pave the way for the introduction of plain, standardised packaging of tobacco.

Every day, 24 children, aged 11 to 15, start smoking in the North East.

Now, Cancer Research UK’s Setting the Standard campaign says it wants to highlight the important of discouraging young people from starting to smoke.

The charity’s new film uses images of children looking at and commenting on different cigarette packets.

The film also ties in with a study by Cancer Research UK, published in the European Journal of Public Health, which reveals the response of teenagers to slim-line cigarettes.

The youngsters questioned said they were most attracted to slim and superslim cigarettes with white filter tips and decorative features – describing them as “classy” and “nicer”.

But they viewed a long, brown cigarette as particularly harmful – labelling it “disgusting”, “really, really strong” and “old fashioned.”

Professor Gerard Hastings, Cancer Research UK’s social marketing expert at the University of Stirling and one of the authors of the paper, said: “Our research confirms previous studies that both the pack and the product are powerful marketing tools in the hands of the tobacco industry which it is using to recruit a new generation of smokers.

“It’s time policy makers moved to standardise both.”

To see the video, go to www.cruk.org/standard-packs.