Backing for further tobacco restrictions
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Only a fifth of people in East Anglia know the true level of the effects of smoking, according to a new survey by Cancer Research UK.
However there is strong support for new laws to make tobacco advertising less attractive to children.
The survey showed that only 20% of the 427 adults surveyed in the East of England knew that there are 100,000 deaths as a result of smoking every year in the UK.
Cancer Research UK says the survey result backs up its ongoing campaign to remove all attractive and stylish designs from tobacco.
It says glossy packaging adds to the allure of cigarettes. Standardised packaging would remove this and increase the impact of picture health warnings.
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The campaign says smoking causes more than eight out of 10 cases of lung cancer, and starting smoking at a young age greatly increases the risk of lung cancer.
At least 13 other types of cancer are also linked to tobacco, including oesophageal, mouth, bladder, bowel, pancreatic and kidney.
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It says the findings also show there is strong public support to protect children from tobacco marketing and remove the clever design gimmicks from tobacco packaging, putting all tobacco in plain, standardised packaging. Only 12% oppose the measure.
Three quarters (76%) also agree that children should not be exposed to any tobacco marketing.
The results are published as standardised packaging takes the next step in becoming law, with the House of Commons now considering the move.
Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s head of tobacco policy, said: “With the House of Commons now looking over the Bill today, it’s important to remember why reducing smoking rates is so important.
“That smoking can kill and cause so much illness has been known for decades, but it’s clear that most people remain unaware of just how many people die because of tobacco.”
She added: “What’s heartening to see is the level of support to protect children from tobacco marketing and reduce the appeal of smoking.
“Marketing can be the first hook that draws young people into a lifetime of nicotine addiction, an addiction that ends in death for half of all long-term smokers.”