This morning I read a news story in which Cancer Research UK found 1,110 10 to 14 year olds in Cumbria, 5% of the total, are "regular smokers". In a recent survey covering the North West, some 18% of 14-17 year olds said they smoked. Nationally, every year, 340,000 children in the UK are tempted to try smoking.
This news is shocking and deeply worrying . According to the Royal College of Physicians, someone who starts to smoke aged 15 years is three times more likely to die of smoking-related cancer than someone who has smoked from their mid-20s.
I have previously written about the decision taken to ban smoking from all children's play areas. My views since then have not changed and I continue to believe that children should not have to be affected by smokers.
Earlier this year I signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 2724) that noted "the designs on tobacco packaging attract children to try smoking" and called on the government to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes which many believe will reduce the number of young smokers.
There is strong evidence that packaging tobacco products in standardised packets makes them less attractive, particularly to young people, increases the visibility of the health warnings and stops smokers believing (incorrectly) that some brands are less harmful than others.
The government is now consulting on the introduction of plain packaging and I would encourage you to take part in to consultation as soon as possible, as it ends on the 10 August.
It can be found here, via the Department of Health: