Teenager's plea over smoking as shock figures reveal number of youngsters becoming addicts (From Dorset Echo)
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Teenager's plea over smoking as shock figures reveal number of youngsters becoming addicts
12:00pm Friday 30th August 2013 in News
A TEENAGER is urging youngsters to stop and think after new figures revealed 21 children start smoking every month in Weymouth and Portland.
Cancer Research UK (CRUK) released the worrying statistics, which relate to youngsters aged between 11 and 15.
Weymouth teen James Lee West, 16, said: “I would say that children should stop and think before they start smoking.
“It’s an unhealthy, bad habit and it is really expensive.”
CRUK is urging youngsters to avoid the habit or risk 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.
A teenager, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I tried smoking when I was in that age group and it was horrible.
“I didn’t like it and I wouldn’t do it again. It’s really bad for you.”
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 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.” 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 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 youngsters.”
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.
n FOR more information visit cruk.org/standardpacks or join the debate on Twitter using #packettracket.
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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