Shock report shows 21 children start smoking every month in Weymouth and Portland (From Dorset Echo)
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Shock report shows 21 children start smoking every month in Weymouth and Portland
SHOCKING new figures have revealed that 21 children aged between 11 and 15 start smoking every month in Weymouth and Portland.
Cancer Research UK (CRUK) released the worrying statistics to highlight the ongoing scale of the tobacco problem.
Youngsters are being urged to avoid the unhealthy habit or risk being drawn into a life threatening addiction.
The warning comes as part of the ‘Setting the Standard’ campaign which aims to underline the importance of sustained action to discourage young people from starting to smoke.
The charity is renewing its appeal to government for cigarettes to be sold in plain, standard packs rather than in the glitzy branding which they say make cigarettes more alluring to young people.
Helen Johnstone, of Cancer Research UK for Dorset, said: “The excitement of starting a new term is in stark contrast to the reality of the number of children who will start smoking every day.
“In the South West alone, this is over 16,400 children every year.
“With many 11-year-olds starting secondary school for the first time, it’s imperative that we try to help our local youngsters by ‘setting the standard’ and protecting them from tobacco marketing.
“That’s why we are renewing our appeal to the government for cigarettes to be sold in plain, standard packs rather than in the glitzy branding that make cigarettes more alluring to young people.”
Standard packs have already been introduced in Australia.
Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s tobacco control lead, said: “The government’s delay to bring in standard cigarette packs will cost lives.
“Replacing slick, brightly coloured packs that appeal to children with standard packs displaying prominent health warnings, is a vital part of our efforts to help protect the health of our youngsters.”
Around 3,300 people in the South West are diagnosed with lung cancer and 2,700 people die from the disease.
Eight out of ten adult smokers start by the age of 19 and around 27 per cent of all under 16s have tried smoking at least once, which is the equivalent of one million children across the UK.
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The figures are based on the ‘Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England’ survey carried out for the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
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