Protect young people by putting tobacco in plain packaging, urge

Bill Esterson and Jo McCullagh

Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson is backing a heart health charity’s call to standardise tobacco packaging to make it less appealing to impressionable youngsters. 

Heart of Mersey wants to see all tobacco products packed in plain or ‘standardised’ packaging to deter more young people from taking up smoking.   

The  government is currently conducting a public consultation on this matter (finishing on July 10).

In the North West, 18% of 14-17 years olds smoke and every year across the nation an estimated 330,000 children under the age of 16 try cigarettes for the first time.

Smoking is the single, greatest cause of preventable illness and death in England, killing 80,000 people a year.

Heart of Mersey’s Tobacco Control Programme Lead, Jo McCullagh said: “Tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion are prohibited in the UK, yet colourful cigarette packet designs continue to be used as a powerful promotional tool for tobacco manufacturers, encouraging young people to think that smoking is cool and exciting rather than the deadly habit we all know it to be."

Plain packaging would require all tobacco products to look the same, with brand names appearing in a standard typeface, colour and size. 

All other trademarks, logos, colour schemes and graphics would be banned.

Bill Esterson said he is keen to support any measure that discouraged young people in Sefton from taking up smoking.  

Bill said: "Standardised packaging will help to de-glamorise a product that causes so much harm to so many people. I am fully supportive of Heart of Mersey."