Smoking’s an addiction that’s encouraged by tobacco companies’ marketing, which is designed to hook more people and keep current smokers hooked. Smoking is the single biggest cause of cancer in the world, and accounts for one in four UK cancer deaths .
These reports are worrying, as is the amount of effort the tobacco industry has spent lobbying on this issue.
In response to this, we jointly wrote a letter to the Sunday Times, together with ASH, the British Heart Foundation, The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the British Medical association, which was published yesterday:
Plans to “water down” measures to end tobacco displays in shops would be a big blow to Andrew Lansley’s plan to relieve pressure on the health budget by stopping people getting ill in the first place. Tobacco is the biggest cause of preventable death, killing 100,000 people a year. With the end of most cigarette advertising, and the introduction of the smoking ban, smoking rates among 11- to 15-year-olds have halved since the mid-1990s.
But cigarettes continue to be temptingly displayed along with sweets and crisps. Ireland stopped such displays a year ago and research has found far fewer Irish children now think smoking is common among their peers. They also think it is harder to buy cigarettes today. Irish tobacconists found it cost the equivalent of a few hundred euros to convert each shop, and the tobacco manufacturers often paid.
The tobacco industry claims cigarette displays prevent smuggling, but covering displays made no difference to the long-term smuggling trends in Ireland. The truth is, these displays advertise deadly products and help recruit teenage smokers.
Harpal Kumar, chief executive, Cancer Research UK Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman, British Medical Association Dr Rosemary Gillespie, chief executive, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Peter Hollins, chief executive, British Heart Foundation