A TEENAGER has spoken out in support of standardised tobacco packaging and urged the Government to introduce legislation to ‘save lives’.
Sahiba Shahzadi, 16, from Blackburn, attended an event on the power of cigarette packaging, organised by Tobacco Free Futures (TFF).
TFF, a social enterprise which works with local authorities to tackle tobacco in Lancashire, organised the event for young people to explore how tobacco companies use ‘glitzy and sophisticated packaging’ to ‘entice’ young boys and girls.
Sahiba, who attends Youth Action in Blackburn, said: “I definitely wouldn’t want the standard cigarette packaging in my handbag but I would want a glitzy pink packet. Standardised packaging would make smoking less appealing, saving the lives of many young people.”
The event followed the recent outcome of the Chantler review on standardised packaging, released earlier this month, which concluded that standardised packaging would ‘contribute to a modest but important reduction in smoking prevalence especially in children and young adults’.
Dominic Harrison, director of public health for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “It is great to see young people taking an interest in tobacco industry tactics and making a stand against marketing through packaging.”
County Coun Azhar Ali, who represents Nelson South and is a cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Lancashire County Council, said: “This girl, at 16, is a fantastic role model for other young people.”
Andrea Crossfield, chief executive of TFF, said: “Glitzy, colourful and glamorous cigarette packaging helps to attract the next generation of tobacco industry customers.”
But Blackburn with Darwen councillor Suleman Khonat, North West spokesman for the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance, said: “There are other tried and tested ways to stop youngsters from smoking, for example, by improving education, enforcing existing laws and tightening up the penalties for illegal tobacco sellers and smugglers.”