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Cigarette warnings not up to job, say teens in South West
5:40am Monday 7th October 2013 in News
Barely a third (38 per cent) of teenagers in the South West are deterred from smoking by current cigarette packs, compared to nearly half (48 per cent) of teenagers in Australia, where packs are almost entirely covered by graphic warnings, according to a cross-hemisphere survey.
The British Heart Foundation’s poll of 684 young people aged 13 to 18 in the South West and Australia, the first country in the world to adopt standardised cigarette packs last year, revealed eight in 10 (80 pr cent) of teenagers in the South West think the UK should introduce standardised cigarette packs.
And the survey also paints a picture of support for standardised packs from Australia’s youth with nearly six in 10 (59 pr cent) saying the packs make people their age less likely to smoke.
Two thirds (66 per cent) of Australian teens think the packs should be introduced elsewhere in the world. Worryingly, 14 per cent of teenagers in the South West make the incorrect assumption that certain cigarette brands are healthier than others – nearly three times the number (five per cent) of Australian teens.
The European Parliament is tomorrow set to vote on key legislation that would see cigarette packs across the EU feature larger graphic health warnings on both sides of the box.
Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The message from our young people in the South West is loud and clear: current health warnings aren’t up to the job and the UK Government must step up and introduce standardised packs.
“Smoking kills 100,0002 people in the UK every year and we simply can’t wait any longer for legislation. Australia has led the way on standardised packs, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland have committed, and now the rest of the UK must act to protect future generations from a deadly habit.”
Later this month, the House of Lords will also be debating a cross-party amendment to the Children and Families Bill, which could help standardised packaging become a reality in the UK.
Under the reform, cigarette packs will be a generic size which, research shows, makes warnings about the harmful effects of cigarettes stand out more.
Mr Gillespie added: “The evidence shows standardised packs increase the effectiveness of health warnings and lessen the appeal of cigarettes, particularly among young people, so it’s imperative MEPs vote for larger health warnings and then peers agree to amend the Children and Families Bill.”
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