Majority agree children should be shielded from tobacco ads

The vast majority of people believe that children should not be exposed to any tobacco marketing according to new data1 published by Cancer Research UK.

Over three quarters of those surveyed think that tobacco marketing is harmful to children.

And more than two thirds said that the stylish, colourful branding, striking logos and distinctive packet designs make cigarettes more appealing to children.

Cancer Research UK has released the results as the government consults on whether to put all tobacco in packs of uniform size, shape and design, with large health warnings front and back.

The charity is championing the call to protect children from tobacco marketing through a hard-hitting campaign – The Answer Is Plain.

People across the South East are being urged to sign the campaign petition for all branding to be removed from tobacco packaging at The Answer Is Plain website.

Other figures show 21 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women in the South East smoke.2 Cancer Research UK believes that plain, unbranded packaging is needed to reduce the appeal of tobacco products to children and give the region’s young people one less reason to start smoking.

Helen Johnstone of Cancer Research UK said: “This survey shows people across the region clearly support action to get rid of one of the last ways the tobacco industry can market its products. So we’re asking them to sign our petition and help end the ‘packet racket’.

“Many parents know their children are very attached to certain brands and cleverly designed packaging plays a significant role in maintaining that attraction. But when we are talking about tobacco then it’s time to change the law.

“We have a unique opportunity to protect children from the marketing of this deadly product. This is not about ‘the nanny state’. This is about us as a society saying that it is wrong for tobacco – a product that kills half of all its long term users – to be marketed to children as though it were a bag of sweets.”

The survey results also reveal the influence of branding on young people in the South East. When asked about how brand aware children are, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of parents and grandparents of children under the age of 18 said that they thought it was important to their oldest child or grandchild to have specific branded goods.3

Although over half (53 per cent) said their oldest child or grandchild didn’t ask for any branded goods, eight in ten (80 per cent) of those that did, said this happened before the child or grandchild was 15.