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Do more children start smoking because brightly-coloured packs appeal to them?


Yet another report about smoking has produced yet another red herring.  We are told that the number of children aged between 11 and 15 choosing to smoke was 207,000 in 2011, an increase of 50,000.  It is not good for their health that children smoke, and it is illegal to sell them cigarettes, a policy that is tightly policed.  Since children probably do not confess readily to bad behaviour, I find myself wondering how the figures were obtained and what credence can be put on them.  I do believe that 27% of under 16s have tried smoking at least once, and am surprised the figure is so low.  I would have guessed that most children might try it once, just as they try alcohol long before they are supposed to.  They are curious.  I would certainly have guessed that the anti-smoking lobby would respond to the new figures, if that is what they are, with yet another demand for plain packaging.  Sure enough:

Sarah Woolnough, executive director of policy and information at Cancer Research UK, said: “With such a large number of youngsters starting to smoke every year, urgent action is needed to tackle the devastation caused by tobacco. Replacing slick, brightly-coloured packs that appeal to children with standard packs displaying prominent health warnings is a vital part of efforts to protect health.  Reducing the appeal of cigarettes with plain, standardised packs will give millions of children one less reason to start smoking.”

I do not believe for a moment that children start smoking because of “brightly-coloured packs that appeal to children.” Nonsense.  They probably smoke because they think it is naughty, daring, grown up, or cool-looking. They do not smoke cigarettes because they like the packs.  The packs already contain huge health warnings and have to be hidden from sight in supermarkets, and despite this, more children are apparently smoking.  Here’s a prediction:  if plain packs come in, more cigarettes will be smuggled and available on the streets at unpoliced locations, and more children will find them easier to come by.


2 Responses

  1. You need a special mind to be a banner.

    Selling tobacco products to anyone under 18 is banned; anyone under 18 buying tobacco products is banned.

    More people under 18, supposedly, are smoking, so the answer is to ban the bright packaging and display because this is obviously encouraging them to buy the things they are banned from buying, and which the sellers are banned from selling to them.

    All the while drugs which are not on display, come in blank packages, are banned for sale or consumption by anyone at any age, do a roaring trade.

  2. Plain packaging would also make it a lot easier for the forgers to market their cigarettes with all sorts of nasties in them.

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