PARENTS in East Lancashire are supporting a campaign for cigarettes to have plain packaging to make them less appealing to children.

Hundreds of parents in the area have signed up to support the Plain Packs Protect campaign, which aims to introduce standardised cigarette packaging to discourage children from starting smoking.

The results of the campaign will be fed into a national three-month Government consultation, which is due to launch this spring and will determine the amount of support for plain packaging.

Burnley mum Emma Gardener said: “The less attractive they can make cigarette packets look to young people, then so much the better.

"Some of these packs look like they are designed to suggest it’s OK to smoke aged 14.”

An Action on Smoking survey has revealed 80per cent of people would support plain packaging if there was evidence they are less attractive to children.

Janet Walton, tobacco lead for NHS East Lancashire, said: “UK tobacco companies have been increasingly looking to packaging as a way to engage new customers, most of whom start as children under 18.

“In public health terms, this policy change would be a landmark event.

“Removing branded cigarette packaging would be significant in turning off the tap of new young smokers.”

Andrea Crossfield, director of Tobacco Free Futures, which is leading the Plain Packs Protect campaign in the North West, said: “It’s not adults that start smoking, it’s children.

“Smoking is a childhood addiction, with 83per cent of smokers and former smokers in the North West trying smoking before they are 14 years old.”

She urged people to pledge their support for the campaign at
The UK Government is the first in Europe to commit to a public consultation and is following Australia, which will introduce plain olive green packaging for tobacco products from December.