RYE Labour candidate Sarah Owen is calling for cigarettes to be sold in plain packets in a bid to discourage children from smoking.
Sarah spoke out Following a meeting with Cancer Research UK’s Head of Policy, Sara Osbourne.
Figures show that a large proportion of children in the area start smoking between the ages of 11 and 15.
One year lung cancer survival in Rother (21.7%) is lower than the English average of 29.4%.
Cancer Research says enough children in the UK start smoking each year to fill 6,900 classroom or Wembley Stadium twice over.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “Eight in ten smokers start by the age of 19, and 207,000 11-15 year olds become smokers each year in the UK, the beginning of an addiction that kills one in two long-term users.
“There is no reasonable doubt that advertising and promotion draw young people into smoking and that packaging is an important part of tobacco promotion. Standard packs will build on the success of the advertising ban.”
Sarah Owen said: “Smoking related illnesses are a major drain in the NHS and we must make every effort to stop people, and young people in particular, getting addicted in the first place. Much has been done, and the advertising ban brought in by the last Labour government has had a major impact, but we need to do more”.
Health chiefs estimate there are 10,436 smokers in Rother District.
They are backing the Stoptober initiative, which encourages people to lay off the cigarettes for 28 days, offering them a range of support to beat their habit.
Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex acting director of public health, said: “Although levels of smoking continue to fall, it is still the biggest cause of premature death across the country and one in two long-term smokers die as a result of smoking.”
More information is available online at https://stoptober.smokefree.nhs.uk/.