I work for Cancer Research UK, but even if I didn’t I’d be asking you to sign up to their new campaign pushing for plain tobacco packaging – The Answer Is Plain.
A quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK are caused by smoking. Tobacco is a uniquely damaging and addictive product, which kills half of all its long-term users.
Every year, 157,000 children aged 11-15 start smoking. Although there are many reasons why children smoke, one is that they are drawn to the increasingly attractive packaging used by manufacturers – effectively the last place they can advertise. As they say themselves, “When you don’t have anything else, the packaging is our marketing”
Cancer Research UK is running a campaign called “The answer is plain”, pushing for plain packaging for all cigarettes. Read more about the campaign.
It’s important to stress that this *isn’t* about existing smokers, although there is evidence to show to plain packs help people to smoke less. It’s about preventing the tobacco companies from enticing kids to take up smoking with attractive packaging.
Don’t believe packaging makes a difference to kids? Watch this:
But why shouldn’t we stand up to the tobacco industry? Tobacco has killed millions of people worldwide – these are slow painful deaths from lung disease, heart disease and cancer, including members of my own family. I want Big Tobacco’s profits to suffer, because the money they make is at the expense of people’s lives. I don’t want another generation of kids growing up as smokers, becoming lifetime addicts and losing years off their lives.
Plain packaging won’t stop all kids from taking up smoking, but it will give them one less reason to start. I believe it helps to make smoking look crap. Not cool, not underground, not naughty – just crap.
Plain packaging isn’t about appealing to existing smokers. It’s about taking the last bastion of advertising away from the manufacturers – a tool that they knowingly use to market cigarettes to children.
Please sign Cancer Research UK’s The Answer Is Plain Campaign.