A student has urged MPs to help save young people’s lives by supporting plans to standardise cigarette packaging.
More than 50 young people from across the UK staged a protest outside British American Tobacco’s AGM recently before heading to Parliament to take their argument to MPs.
The event was organised by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) together with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tobacco Free Futures.
All are campaigning for the introduction of ‘standardised’ packs for tobacco products to strip away glitzy branding and make smoking less appealing to young people.
Adan Loughlin, 22, a University of Cumbria student in Lancaster, said: “I hate the way the tobacco industry influences – and sometimes misleads – people about its products. “Getting rid of branding on packs makes the health warnings more prominent and I think this helps people to think more about what they’re doing to their body.” Around 200,000 children and young people in England start smoking each year and more than two thirds of the UK’s existing 10 million smokers started before they turned 18.
Jenna Hall, Head of the Children and Young People team at the BHF, said: “The tobacco industry relies on a steady stream of new, young smokers to keep up its profit margins.
“It’s no surprise it’s fighting tooth and nail to protect the glitzy packaging it knows helps reel in young people.
“But this protest and parliamentary meeting proves young people won’t stand for being hoodwinked by Big Tobacco into thinking products are safe and I sincerely hope MPs got the message.”
Young people interested in joining the campaign for standard tobacco packaging can find out more at www.yheart.net.