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Cancer Research UK report shows tobacco packaging targets teens

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Campaigners have been arguing it for years but now a study has revealed children and teenagers agree that cigarette and tobacco packages have been designed to appeal to them.

Studying 50 years-worth of tobacco industry documentation, Cancer Research UK said it had found paperwork outlining how the size, colour and design of packaging had been targeted at new smokers - especially teenagers.

Their resulting report - Packaging of Tobacco Products - will be reviewed alongside other information that makes up the wider UK consultation about cigarette packaging and whether tobacco should now legally only be permitted for sale in plain, standardised packs.

Cancer Research UK published the report in partnership with the University of Stirling’s Centre for Tobacco Control Research.

The charity is also promoting a signature petition against all branding on tobacco packets as part of its newly-unveiled The Answer is Plain initiative.

In order to emphasise the affect of packaging on youngsters, The Answer is Plain campaign also includes a newly-released video featuring a number of 10-year-olds talking about cigarette packets.

The children make comments in the video such as: “It makes you feel like you’re in a wonderland of happiness”, “It reminds me of a Ferrari”, “Is that the Royal sign?” and “Yeah. Pink, pink, pink”.

Professor Robert West, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco research at University College London, added: “The research evidence is compelling that cigarette packaging is attractive to young people.

“Once the young person tries smoking, nicotine has a chance to do its work in turning him or her into an addict.

“Only a quarter of those who smoke for a year succeed in stopping before it starts to take years of their lives.

“Of course we can’t be sure how big an effect preventing tobacco companies from using packing to attract smokers will have, but smoking is so dangerous that even a very small effect would save hundreds if not thousands of lives each year.”

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