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Cigarette packets to carry graphic anti-smoking messages

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Tobacco packets are to contain grim images demonstrating the devastating effects of smoking from 1 October.

Smokers will be faced with graphic pictures of blackened lungs, throat cancer and rotten teeth, as well as a ‘flaccid cigarette’. The images will replace the current written warnings which have been in place since January 2003.

The Department of Health is hopeful that the stark photographic warnings will be an even greater success than written ones. Figures suggest that since the introduction of health warnings, more than five years ago, over 90,000 smokers have been motivated to call the NHS smoking helpline.

Research has also shown that smokers are more likely to recognise the damage they are doing to themselves if they see a picture.

Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer for England, said he was confident that the new warnings will help even more people quit their deadly habit. ‘These new stark pictures warnings emphasise the harsh realities of continuing to smoke,’ he said.

‘This will help maintain the momentum of the increasing number of people who have given up smoking following England going smoke-free in 2007,’ he added.

Despite there being 1.9 million fewer smokers than in 1982, smoking is still the biggest killer in England – causing the premature death of over 82,000 people each year.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Smokers do not smoke because it’s unhealthy, disgusting or expensive financially, we know all these things but we struggle to stop.

    When you understand why people smoke then you can assist them to stop smoking.

    When I lit that first cigarette I did not intend to be addicted, I enjoyed visiting the theatre for the first time but don't feel I have to spend the rest of my life in the theatre.

    Don't tell us smoking is bad for us, don't lecture us, we know it’s bad! The ‘No Smoking Days claim to help many smokers stop, in reality its the one day that smokers smoke twice as many cigarettes because we are sick of being told what to do and that its not good to smoke. Most smokers think smoking is good otherwise why would we do it, we enjoy it and at the same time know it’s unhealthy, disgusting or expensive financially.

    Campaigns like this are expensive to run and we have to ask ourselves how many people actually stop because of 'fear advertising’. We fear stopping, we fear the withdrawals, we fear the cravings and we think we will not be able to enjoy social occasions or be able to concentrate as well. These are of course irrational thoughts but the health problems for most of us will occur at some time in the future. But right now we fear stopping, we fear stopping more than looking at some images that are designed to frighten us

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