Children from Coventry used in anti-smoking campaign

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© Public Health England
Dr Ranj and the children.

WITH the introduction of standard cigarette packets without distinctive logos due in the UK in May next year, Public Health England (PHE) launched a new campaign on December 30.

This campaign highlights the damaging effect smoking has on the heart, as it is revealed that 45 people a day die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) caused by smoking – over 16,500 a year in England alone.

CVD is one of the main causes of death and disability in the country and quitting has been identified as the single best thing a smoker can do to protect their heart. CVD is usually associated with the build-up of fatty deposits clogging up the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, that can block the flow of blood to vital organs and eventually cause fatal heart attacks and strokes.

Public Health England insights show that the two biggest motivators for smokers to quit are for their health and their families. 

PHE has released a new emotive short film featuring children’s TV doctor Dr Ranj working with primary school children in Coventry, to create their own heartfelt messages about the dangers of smoking. The messages, inspired by the introduction of standard packs, focus on the damage smoking does to the heart and circulatory system. 

This campaign has caused an immediate response from pro-smoking lobby group FOREST which accuses it of using ‘moral blackmail’ although it has to be assumed that this is the whole concept behind the campaign.

Professor Marcus Munafò standardised packaging expert from the University of Bristol said “The introduction of standardised packaging for cigarettes in the UK is a great step forward and will hopefully work as a suitably strong deterrent from smoking. I hope that the UK will see similar results to Australia, which has seen a reduction in smoking rates from over 15 per cent to under 13 per cent in the two years since standardised packaging was introduced.”

Cigarettes can now cost as much as £10 (€11.70) per packet of 20 in the UK compared to Spain where the average cost is €5 and Gibraltar which is the ‘bargain’ supplier at less than €3.50 per packet although there are limits on the number that may be taken into Spain.

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