A group of young people from across Lancashire have come forward in support of Government legislation to standardise tobacco packs.
At an event organised by Tobacco Free Futures, a social enterprise that works with Lancashire County Council to tackle tobacco in the region, the youngsters explored how tobacco companies use glitzy and sophisticated packaging to entice young boys and girls into a life time of addiction.
Azam Makda, 17, who attends Jamea Masjid Youth Club and lives in Preston said: “I think the main reason why people buy cigarettes is because of the way the packaging looks.
“For example you only buy food if it looks good, if it didn’t look appealing then you wouldn’t buy it, so that’s what it’s like with cigarettes as well.
“Seeing the standardised tobacco packaging I think it would put people off because they see the pictures and the writing saying it’s harmful.”
In Lancashire it is estimated that smokers will save £13,098,062 if standardised packaging was introduced.
A similar fall in tobacco sales followed in the year after Australia brought in standard tobacco packaging
Azhar Ali, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “It’s great to see more young people in Lancashire taking an interest in tobacco industry tactics and making a stand against marketing through cigarette packaging.
He added: “Investing in educating young people now is important to prevent them entering into an addiction before they know what addiction is.”
Saul Suttie, 14, who lives in Clitheroe and is part of Ribble Valley Youth Council said: “I’ve found the event really enlightening because I didn’t know that tobacco products kill one in two long term users - it’s been a real eye opener.
“I think the plain packs will make a difference because they’re not attractive at all so people will think twice before smoking.
Saul added: “The Tobacco Industry has death on both sides and just money in the middle.”
Across the North West 64 per cent of the public are now in favour of standardised tobacco packaging according to a recent YouGov survey, with only 11 per cent opposing.