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Cigarette pack change ‘will save lives’ says Warwickshire health director

Dr John Linnane is calling on the Government to make it standard for all tobacco products to have plain packaging.

Dr John Linnane is calling on the Government to make it standard for all tobacco products to have plain packaging.

Warwickshire’s director of public health has called on the Government to make plain packaging on all tobacco products standard practice.

Dr John Linnane wrote to the Government on behalf of the county council as the national consultation on regulations for standardised packaging of tobacco products came to a close last Friday.

Highlighting that in the last year, an estimated 1,600 children started smoking in Warwickshire, Dr Linnane said in his letter: “Half of them will die prematurely as a result of their habit. This cannot continue.

“There has been extensive national and international research which clearly demonstrates the standardising tobacco packaging leads to a reduction in the numbers of young people starting to consume tobacco and, together with other policy initiatives, contributes significantly in reducing the numbers of people smoking.”

Research by Public Health England has shown that the standardised packaging of tobacco products could save the UK’s economy around £500 million. Data from the Treasury in Australia, where standardised packaging was introduced in December 2012, shows a 3.4 per cent fall in tobacco sales in the year following the change. Researchers say the money not spent on tobacco products is likely to be spent elsewhere in local businesses instead.

Figures from Warwickshire’s Stop Smoking service estimate that smokers are four times more likely to be successful in quitting if they contact the service. Call 0800 085 2917, text ‘LIFE’ to 80800 or visit www.smokefreewarwickshire.org

 

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