Dame Anne backs plain packaging after Aberdeen South statistics revealed

Dame Anne has backed Cancer Research UK’s campaign ‘The answer is plain’ supporting the plain packaging of tobacco products with the aim of reducing the number of underage smokers. In response to the government’s “Stoptober” campaign, Dame Anne emphasises that “although smokers should be encouraged to stop, the government needs to also tackle the root causes of why people start smoking.”

Dame Anne has discovered that approximately 2,550 children in Grampian are regular smokers. Furthermore, almost a quarter of Aberdonians smoke frequently. Dame Anne said: “These statistics are shocking. The number of children smoking is clearly far too high and should be addressed. Most smoking-related deaths in the city are preventable and reducing the number of smokers – especially underage ones – is critical to this.”

Research shows that plain, standardised packaging makes cigarettes less attractive to children. On average, eight in ten smokers start by the age of 19. Dame Anne said: “It’s crucial that the government works to de-glamorise smoking as much as possible and expose the true risks of the habit to children, which will significantly reduce the chances of them starting smoking later in life.”

Cancer UK described current packaging as “a seductive marketing tool that attracts young people in to a habit that kills half of all long term smokers.”

Dame Anne stated: “Underage smoking is a distinct problem in Aberdeen South and I am eager to investigate ways of preventing it. Plain packaging is a widely recommended solution and I am keen to see this introduced.”

“Whilst I encourage the government’s efforts to promote ‘Stoptober,’ it needs to dissuade people from smoking in the first place, which many say is caused by the attractive packaging.”

“Young people can be easily tempted by advertising and with the vast majority of smokers starting before the age of 19, stubbing out teenage smoking must be a government priority.”