|Put cigarettes out of sight and out of mind for kids, urges Sir George
26 Mar 2009
Sir George has backed calls to further protect children from tobacco marketing at a major Cancer Research UK event in Parliament.
At a meeting in the Commons, Sir George discussed the importance of making smoking history for our children and heard from experts about the dangers of tobacco.
He was among dozens of MPs who heard how they can take positive action by supporting measures contained in the Health Bill - currently going through Parliament - which will also serve the interests of smokers trying to quit.
“Smoking remains the single biggest preventable cause of cancer and evidence shows that 80 per cent of smokers start before the age of 19. I am concerned that the law on tobacco advertising still enables the tobacco industry to promote dangerous products to children and young people through cigarette displays at the point of sale.
“I support Cancer Research UK’s current campaign to put tobacco out of sight and out of mind through prohibiting these point of sale displays. The evidence suggests that this measure would be manageable for small businesses in (constituency) because it could cost under £200 to refit a standard UK small retailer display.
“The lead-in time of 2013 for small retailers protects businesses as well as children, by ensuring that they have the opportunity to prepare and adjust. The benefits for our young people and those trying to quit would be considerable. I hope to speak on the Tobacco Control Bill when it comes to the Commons in a few weeks time."
Jean King, Director of Tobacco Control at Cancer Research UK said: “We are very grateful to Sir George for supporting our campaign. It is vital that MPs support measures in the Health Bill to protect children and young people from developing a dangerous addiction.
“Approximately 340,000 under-16s try cigarettes for the first time each year. Point of sale displays have now become the most important source of tobacco marketing for young people. By putting displays out of sight and out of mind we will protect children and it would also help adults to quit.”
Cancer Research UK welcomes the proposals contained in the Health Bill and would like to see the Government go further by prohibiting tobacco vending machines, as part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy.