First standardised packs to prevent smoking by children spotted in Leeds

Leeds, Leeds Star

The first cigarettes on sale in new, standardised packaging have been spotted in Leeds.

New laws which came in to force in May gave manufacturers up to a year to switch to drab green packs, with bigger health warnings, designed to make smoking less appealing to children and young people. Although it was believed stockpiles of old packs would last for some time, just three months in the first packs are starting to be seen in Leeds.

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

‘‘We have seen some encouraging signs from Australia since they introduced standardised packs in 2012 with the number of young people who have never smoked rising. I hope, with the sight of the new packs we can also look forward to a similar effect in Leeds – which is great news for the future health of thousands of young people who won’t be tempted to smoke and can be the basis for a smokefree generation.”

Social media is being used to report sightings of the new packaging and add to a ‘Track the Pack Map.’ Anyone spotting a pack can Tweet an image and the location using the hashtag #trackthepack.

It’s an idea from Breathe 2025, Yorkshire and Humber’s collaborative tobacco alliance. To track the packs, visit www.breathe2025.org.uk/track-the-pack Tweet to @breathe2025

In Leeds around one in ten 15 year olds smoke, while around one in five adults smoke.

Dr Ian Cameron, Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

“If you do smoke, now’s a great time to quit. There’s lots of support available to help you to succeed and information to help on the One You Leeds website. Smoking causes the death of half of those who smoke, so it is a major preventable cause of death and ill health in the city.”

More information on help to stop smoking is available at: http://www.oneyouleeds.org.uk/

-ENDS-

Notes for editors

Breathe 2025 is the overarching campaign brand for work and aspirations to eliminate tobacco-related harms and health inequalities across Yorkshire and The Humber. The vision is to see the next generation of children born and raised in a place free from tobacco, where smoking is unusual. For more information visit www.breathe2025.org.uk

Local tobacco statistics are at Local tobacco control profiles

The new regulations are The Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 and The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. More information at Breathe2025.org.uk

Two thirds of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18 Smoking and drinking among adults, 2010. General Lifestyle Survey 2010. ONS, 2012.

In March 2016 the Australian Government published its post implementation review. Findings included:

  • a “statistically significant decline in smoking prevalence of 0.55 percentage points over the post-implementation period, relative to what the prevalence would have been without the packaging changes. This is expected to increase with time
  • a statistically significant increase in the number of 12-17 year old students who have never smoked; a significant decline in a range of tobacco use indicators among young people since a previous survey in 2011, before the introduction of plain packaging, consistent with the tobacco plain packaging measure working as intended, particularly in relation to young people.
  • declines in the volume of tobacco sales
  • decline in household income spent on tobacco
  • studies finding no change in smokers’ reported use of unbranded illicit tobacco, no evidence of increases in use of contraband cigarettes, low levels of use of cigarettes likely to be contraband, and no increase in purchases of tobacco from informal sellers

A systematic review of plain tobacco packaging was carried out before the introduction of the new legislation. Moodie, C Angus K, Stead M and Bauld L. Plain Tobacco Packaging Research: An Update. Stirling, Scotland: Centre for Tobacco Control Research, Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling, Sept. 2013