Ayiesha Emms, aged 16, is fronting a campaign to use plain packaging for cigarettes and remove displays of cigarettes and other tobacco products from shelves. The campaign Smokefree, is part of the North West’s young people’s action group, which is run by kids aged from 14 to 18. The government will also launch measures which will hopefully help smokers to stop, and discourage younger people from smoking.
Ayiesha is a health and social care student attending Furness college, and has addressed an international tobacco control conference in 2010. She is calling for fancy, shiny cigarette packaging to be removed in order to stop the exploitation of young people with limited edition pink cigarettes and attractive packets which provide temptation.
Approximately 900 people in Cumbria die from a smoking related illness each year, which is a small number of the total smoking related deaths in the whole of the United Kingdom. Most smokers take up the habit when they are in their teen years, which is why the government and anti smoking campaigns are asking for displays and fancy packaging to be removed.
The director of Smokefree North West, Andrea Crossfield said:
The government has proved its commitment to putting children’s health before tobacco industry profits and should be congratulated for doing so.
Smoking, drinking alcohol and drugs are all a potential hazard for young people, setting them up for a lifetime of ill health and possibly, premature death. The government has also launched initiatives for the food that children eat, hoping to reduce the problem of child obesity. Many don’t see the harm that is done to a child who becomes obese, preferring to see that other issues such as smoking and drinking are much more harmful. If the government are willing to insist that cigarettes are packaged in such a way that children won’t be enticed by their shiny, gimmicky packets, should junk food be treated the same way, with plain packaging that makes the food less appealing to youngsters?
If adults set an example by not smoking, drinking alcohol responsibly and eating a healthy diet, would this be enough to influence children to live a healthy lifestyle, or are outside pressures such as advertising and peer pressure to blame for teen smoking, child obesity and other problems. Your opinions on this subject are very welcome.