Thurrock Council public health team praise plain packaging for cigarettes plan

THURROCK Council’s public health team has welcomed the government’s decision to push forward with plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco in England.

The council’s health portfolio holder Cllr Barbara Rice said: “I am thrilled by this decision.

“Quitting smoking is the single best decision a person can make to improve their health.

“We want to ensure that our children never need to make that choice.”

Large supermarkets and shops have already been made to remove tobacco products from customer view and this year all smaller newsagents and shops will adhere to the same rules. These changes, combined with unappealing and plain packaging, will help us discourage younger and new smokers taking up the habit.”

Experts believe glitzy packaging attracts children and young people to take up smoking and start a lifelong addiction.

The proposals for standardised packaging include specifying specific colours such as dull brown for the outside and white for inside; permitting only certain wording such as brand names; and including health warnings.

There will be a free vote in Parliament on the regulations before May’s elections. If the regulations are passed they should take affect from May 2016.

Public Health England say that smoking is a major cause of cancer, heart and respiratory disease with almost 80,000 people in England dying every year from ill health caused by smoking.

Campaigners believe the changes have the potential to save thousands of lives. Australia is the only other country in the world to have taken similar measures and saw the lowest ever consumption of cigarettes and tobacco in the first quarter of 2014.

Vitality is the local professional service that helps Thurrock smokers to quit. Trained advisers give practical support such as recommending the best nicotine replacement for those wanting to stop smoking. For more information about Vitality and the services they offer visit www.lovevitality.org

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