A Scottish teenager, Jamie Walker, whose mother died from cancer has started a campaign to bring plain packaging to cigarettes. He has said that he wants to stop cigarettes being advertised in glitzy packaging which appeals to consumers.
Mr Walker has put together a petition which is urging the government to not allow cigarette packaging to be attractive to consumers. Mr Walker commented, “I see it as very important that we don’t let tobacco companies use clever marketing techniques to attract children into smoking.
It might not be obvious, but it is happening. 100,000 smokers die every year which significantly affects the number of people who are smoking. Tobacco companies need to make up this less by recruiting new people, and these are often children.”
The teenager has also become an ambassador for the leading cancer research charity, Cancer Research UK. In his capacity at this role he has highlighted that cigarette packaging has been known to be attractive to children because of its glitzy appearance.
Interestingly, his mother did not actually die of cancer that was related to smoking, but Mr Walker commented, “I was 12 years old and I had to watch my mother die of this terrible disease, I know her cancer was not caused by smoking, but so many people do die from smoking cancers every year and I don’t want anyone to have to go through the process of watching someone die of cancer, so I see it is incredibly important that we stop children being attracted to cigarettes.”
Fiona O’Donnell, a member of Parliament for East Lothian has stated, “It is quite incredible that despite the complete ban on tobacco advertising, cigarette companies do manage to make themselves appealing to children. Starting smoking young often leads to a lifetime of addiction, so tackling the problem early seems fairly essential.”