Today Cancer Research UK are launching a video (below) to help the campaign for standardised packaging. That means removing the funky, bold, iconic and eye catching designs from fag packets because children respond to branding.
I started smoking young, about 12 years old. I stuck to certain brands, pretty ones. So I do agree with this campaign, anything that makes children less likely to start smoking is a good thing.
Why do I care about smoking cancers? I care because this killed my Grandad, Gramps, the man who was a dad to me. Killed by brightly coloured sticks of poison sold at the post office, the supermarket, even the sweet shop.
I remember clearly my Gramps smoking, and telling me the dangers weren’t known when he started smoking as a young man. That he knew better now, but he was already a smoker for most of his life, why stop? I used to copy him, I’d walk to the post office with my pocket money and buy chocolate smokes. Gramps and I used to lean on the garden wall, he’d have a ciggie and I’d pretend to smoke my chocolate version, then I’d eat it when he was finished smoking. They were in a red white and silver fliptop cardboard box, just like Grampses real ciggies. They were the right size and shape, and it was wrapped in rice paper, darker at the mouth section and white towards the end you light on the real thing. They looked convincing. He reminded me imitation might be flattery, but don’t start smoking. This was something he hoped I’d never do.
But I did. I stopped smoking at 20 when I was pregnant with D. I nagged and begged him to do the same. It killed him – Ironically he had an undiscovered tumor, he had cancer in his throat. It had been there years the specialist said. The smoking had caused this cancer, but the poisons he continued to inhale daily were choking the tumor also. Sort of suppressing its growth. This is unusual, as normally stopping smoking benefits your health – even if that person had smoked for 60+ years.
I felt like I killed my Gramps, but it wasn’t me. It was them, big tobacco bosses, they advertised at kids in his day. It wasn’t normal to not smoke. Thankfully times have changed, we’ve moved on miles in the anti smoking area. But that’s no reason to stop now.
Today on twitter Cancer Research is pushing #PacketRacket to get this campaign seen. I don’t want my boys to smoke. I don’t want my boys to get self caused illnesses. Cancer I hate you, and I’m behind @CR_UK completly. Tweet the heck out of that tag, and the video below.. Lets do this.
The following is written by Cancer Research UK.
Teenagers are most attracted to slim and superslim cigarettes with white filter tips and decorative features – describing them as ‘cute, classy and feminine’ – according to a unique new Cancer Research UK* study to be published in the European Journal of Public Health this autumn.
The 15 year olds rated slimmer brands as weaker and less harmful than ‘smelly and disgusting’ brown cigarettes, which were viewed as ‘disgusting’, ‘really really strong’ and ‘old fashioned’. In fact, some superslim brands contain more harmful tobacco products than regular cigarettes.
The findings of this research, which highlights how different styles and designs of cigarettes and tobacco packaging can be more attractive to young people, are being issued alongside a new film, which reveals how tobacco companies can go as far as local laws allow to influence and recruit young people. Cancer Research UK is launching the hard-hitting film online today as part of its on-going campaign for standardised tobacco packaging to protect young people from tobacco marketing.
After legislation was left out of the Queen’s speech in May, Cancer Research UK has been campaigning to make sure standardised packaging isn’t left off the agenda for good. An amendment to The Children and Families Bill, which is being debated in the House of Lords this month, could allow Parliament one last chance this year to vote on legislation to protect children’s health with the introduction of standardised packaging.
Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “The evidence shows children are attracted to glitzy, slickly-designed cigarettes packs and every year more than 207,000 UK children between 11 and 15 start smoking. We are urging the government to introduce standardised packaging to discourage these children from starting this life-threatening habit and to prioritise children’s health over tobacco company profits.”
Professor Gerard Hastings, a Cancer Research UK funded social marketing expert based at the University of Stirling, and an author on the paper, said: “Our research confirms previous studies that both the pack and the product are powerful marketing tools in the hands of the tobacco industry which it is using to recruit a new generation of smokers. It’s time policy makers moved to standardise both.”
Cancer Research UK’s campaign for standardised packaging has also had some high profile support, including from Lucy Briers, actress and daughter of Richard Briers. She said: “My father was a smoker for most of his life and his cigarette habit caused the emphysema that killed him – it’s heart breaking to think that if he had given up sooner we might have had more time with him. But smoking is a very hard habit to break; it’s better never to have started.”
“I know because I started smoking as a teenager and found it extremely difficult to give up. It’s shocking how glamorous and sophisticated modern cigarette packets are – there are even some that look like lipsticks! Like any teenage girl, easily-influenced by what looks ‘cool’, I would have loved these packs.”
“By removing all branding and design from tobacco packaging and taking away the ‘cool’ factor, I am certain cigarettes would be less attractive to children and give them one less reason to take up smoking. I fully support this legislation, which will be crucial in protecting the health of impressionable young people.”
Mumsnet CEO and co-founder, Justine Roberts, said: ‘Very few parenting issues are completely black and white, but nobody wants their child to start smoking. Standardised packs may not be a silver bullet, but Mumsnet users are clear that they’d be very happy to see them as part of a range of measures to discourage children from getting hooked.’
You can watch and share Cancer Research UK’s shocking new film here: http://bit.ly/HKG5Rc
For more information about Cancer Research UK’s campaign for standardised packaging, please visit cruk.org/standard-packs.