ANTI-SMOKING campaigners have blasted a new brand of cigarettes they claim are aimed at young women.
Fresh, Smoke Free North East has hit out at a new “fashionable” type of cigarette that is set to hit the city’s shelves.
They claim the superslim Vogue Perle packs containing slinky cigarettes are targeting young women by exploiting their obsession with supermodels and staying thin.
The packs boast of being designed in Paris and are described as being “taller and thinner than a king-sized cigarette” with a “compact box that fits easily into a pocket or handbag”.
Fresh director Ailsa Rutter is today, on World No Tobacco Day, calling on Sunderland stores to refuse to stock the new brand of cigarettes and is urging the Government to introduce plain packaging.
She said: “The tobacco industry clearly sees the North East as a huge pound sign.
“We have already seen glamorous cigarette staff stalking our bars but this is the first time we have seen this brand being promoted here.
“This highlights the urgency now to follow what is happening in Australia and seriously look at plain packaging on tobacco to plug a serious loophole in the tobacco advertising ban.
“If glamorous designs on packs did not help it recruit new customers, the tobacco industry would not spend millions of pounds on developing them.
“The packs themselves are as powerful as any TV or cinema advert.”
Wearsiders today gave a mixed reaction to the designer cigarettes.
Student Nicole Jenkinson, 18, said: “The Government should just ban advertising on cigarettes altogether rather than trying to make them look attractive.
“People probably would buy them just because it’s a cool box and it has a label.”
Julie Downing, 43, added: “I was bought some of those cigarettes back from a relative who went on holiday, I originally thought there was only about five in the packet and was surprised to find 20.
“I prefer menthol cigarettes but as long as they’re cheap I would buy them.”
Her daughter, Stacie, 21, said: “It doesn’t make a difference what they look like. They all taste the same and if people want to buy them they’d just buy the cheapest anyway.
“Young people might like the design more but will still opt for cheaper.”
A spokeswoman for British American Tobacco said: “Our marketing is not aimed at encouraging anybody to start smoking, whatever their gender or age. It is about persuading existing male and female adults smokers to choose our brands and not those of our competitors.”