Plain speaking from Kent's youth
22 June 2012
Young people from across Kent will get together this morning to
have their say in response to the government’s consultation on
plain tobacco packaging. The group, called REframe, wants to make
sure that its support for a change in the law is heard.
Every year, 340,000 children in England try smoking for the
first time – and 200,000 under-16s become regular smokers. Research
shows they are more likely to be attracted by promotional
packaging, which also reduced the impact of health warnings. By
introducing plain packaging, the health warning will become bigger
and more eye-catching.
Megan Wallace, 14, from the REframe steering group, said:
“Most people start smoking before they turn 18, and lots of
research shows that children are more attracted to flashy, designed
packaging. That’s why the REframe project involves children at all
levels, so that we can have our voices heard on the issues that
The work of the REframe group is also supported by Kent Youth
County Council and Mid Kent College Students’ Union.
Tamanna Miah, outgoing chair of Kent Youth County Council,
“It’s shocking that some tobacco companies continue to use
glamorous packaging as a way of getting young people to smoke.
Smoking costs the NHS millions of pounds and we should all get
behind this campaign to help stop young people from taking up
Matt Stanley, President of MidKent College Students’ Union,
“Every year 340,000 children try smoking for the first time.
Research and surveys from around the world indicate that plain
packs are less appealing, help make young people more aware of the
health warnings and stop them believing that some cigarettes are
less harmful than others.”
An online petition backing the plain packaging has already been
signed by more than 90,000 people. It will be submitted for
consideration by the Government as part of its consultation.
Graham Gibbens, KCC Cabinet member
for Adult Social Care and Public Health said,
“Kent’s youth have spoken and we need to listen and respond by
supporting them. The idea behind this proposal is to stop
cigarette packaging acting as an advert itself. Tempting young
people into a highly-addictive habit could seriously damage their
health and lead to an early death. We urge people to participate in
the consultation and make their views about plain packaging
Meradin Peachey, Kent’s Director of
Public Health, said
“Quitting smoking is the single most important thing that
smokers can do to improve their health. But even better is not
starting in the first place.
“Our view is that any sensible measure that discourages people
from smoking is worthwhile for their health, and that of those
close to them – and we would ask for everyone who shares this view
to visit the website and make your views known.”