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The figure, published by Cancer Research UK, is being highlighted by public health experts in Cumbria to encourage the removal of branding from tobacco packs sold in the UK. Every year, another 340,000 children in the UK are tempted to try smoking and research has shown that they are more likely to be attracted by branded tobacco packaging, than by plain packs.
On average around 900 people die each year in Cumbria from smoking-related illnesses
The Department of Health is currently consulting on proposals to strip branding from tobacco packaging and the county’s public health experts are encouraging Cumbrians to have their say before the consultation ends on 10 August.
Cumbria public health partnership specialist, Su Sear, said: “With regulation in place to restrict television, radio and other advertising, packaging is becoming more and more important to the tobacco industry to help sell their products.
"Shiny holograms, pretty pastel colours and wrappers are just some of the eye-catching pack designs available, and there is growing evidence to suggest that these packs can attract and mislead children.
“If the new plain packaging law is passed in the UK, this will change.
“The health warnings will become bigger and more eye-catching against a plain background. This means that by making packaging plain, health warnings will become more effective.
“The plain truth is Cumbrians can help protect our children by taking part in the national consultation before it ends later this month.”
To take part in the Department of Health’s plain tobacco packaging consultation, visit the website at www.consultations.dh.gov.uk/