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Reducing tobacco promotion

Children and young people start smoking for a number of reasons. Children are three times more likely to smoke if they grow up in a family where parents or siblings smoke.


But other factors like the price of tobacco, peer pressure, tobacco promotion and seeing smoking in films and other media play a role in making children more likely to buy or try tobacco.

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Standardised packs


On May 2016, standardised tobacco packaging was introduced across the UK. This followed widespread calls to end colourful tobacco packs which appealed to children and make graphic health warnings stand out more.


The UK was the second country in the world and the first in Europe to require cigarettes to be sold in plain, standardised packaging, following the lead of Australia which implemented the measure in December 2012.


More than 13,500 people and 129 organisations in the North East - including every local authority - came out in support of standardised packs during the Department of Health consultation in 2012. All 12 North East local authorities reiterated their support when the Department of Health consulted on draft regulations for standardised packaging in 2014.


In the words of Cancer Research UK: "Standardised packaging of tobacco products will protect children from a deadly addiction and save lives."


Research shows that standard packs reduce the appeal of tobacco products to children and help demonstrate the realities of smoking by increasing the prominence of graphic health warnings. The introduction of standardised packaging in May 2016 follows the removal of point of sale tobacco displays from all shops in April 2015. Tobacco displays reinforce the social norms of smoking among young people.


Before the law came in, we went out to show members of their public examples of branded and Australian standardised packs. Watch their reactions.


You can find more details about standardised packaging of tobacco on the website of Action on Smoking and Health