Cigarette packaging campaign

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ANTI-smoking campaigners are urging parents to back a new campaign calling for plain tobacco packaging.

The Plain Packs Protect campaign is being launched today in the North-East by health campaigners FRESH, aimed at reducing thousands of North-East child smokers who are attracted to glitzy brands.

The average age most smokers in the North-East start smoking is just 15, but some start at just nine years old.

FRESH believes eye-catching and increasingly innovative packs of cigarettes can act as ‘silent salesmen’.

Plain Packs Protect is supported by FRESH, Action for Smoking and Health (ASH), Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

Smoking is still the North-East’s biggest killer, claiming the lives of 11 people a day.

The Government is due to launch a three-month public consultation in Spring 2012 on whether the UK should adopt the plain, standardised packaging of tobacco products to protect children from tobacco promotion.

Ailsa Rutter, director of FRESH, said: “We want people to support the introduction of plain, standardised packaging for tobacco products as a measure to prevent children and vulnerable young people from taking up smoking, and a lifetime of addiction, through an attraction to these brands.”

FRESH is encouraging people to show their support by signing up to Plain Packs Protect at