A decision by the government to move forward with plans to ban branding on cigarette packs has been warmly welcomed by local cancer charity, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.
The move to prevent cigarettes being sold in glamorous, branded packaging will help protect the next generation of children and young people from starting to smoke, and encourage smoking cessation in adults. Two thirds of current smokers started when children and half of all lifetime smokers will die from smoking related disease1.
Gerry McElwee, Head of Cancer Prevention for Cancer Focus NI, said: “This is fantastic news. Every day hundreds of children start to smoke and the introduction of standardised ‘plain’ packs will mean that future generations of smokers will not be seduced by tobacco industry marketing.
“This move has the potential to save thousands of lives. There are 2,300 deaths caused by tobacco in Northern Ireland each year with thousands of others affected by cancer, respiratory and other smoking related illnesses.
“We’re hopeful that our local politicians will continue to show their support for standardised packs to ensure that the UK becomes the first place in Europe to take this important step.”
 See Smoking Statistics, Action on Smoking and Health, January 2015