Smokefree Action Coalition says 39 people in Yorkshire and Humber region start smoking every day
Over 7,000 children in Yorkshire and The Humber have started smoking since UK Government's consultation on standardised tobacco packaging ended.
This Valentine's Day the Smokefree Action Coalition is calling on the Government to take action and "have a heart" by committing to legislation to make all tobacco packaging standard.
Today is the tenth anniversary of the implementation of the ban on tobacco advertising and the seventh anniversary of the Commons vote for smokefree legislation.
Since the consultation on the legislation ended just over six months ago, it is estimated that more than 7,000 children will have started smoking in Yorkshire and The Humber, a number which grows by 39 every day.
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Now the Smokefree Action Coalition, an alliance of over 190 health organisations including the British Medical Association (BMA), is calling on the Government to publish the results of its consultation and announce that it will go ahead with legislation.Currently in the UK, there are no restrictions on the way tobacco multinationals are allowed to promote their brands through packaging.
The packs are now the principal form of tobacco promotion and are designed to attract existing and potential consumers with colourful and eye-catching imagery.
Dr Janet Atherton, President of the Association of Directors of Public Health said: "Tobacco remains our biggest cause of preventable death. "Standardised packaging of tobacco would have a big impact on the number of teenagers taking up a lethal addiction.
"There is strong public support for this measure and the Association of Directors of Public Health encourages the Government to introduce it without delay." Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of the Trading Standards Institute said: "The Trading Standards Institute attaches great importance to its contribution to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of consumers in the UK.
"We recognise that standardised packaging is a necessary step towards protecting the public from the harms of smoking and that it will be particularly effective for young people.
"We therefore urge the Government to bring forward legislative proposals for standard packs."Research shows that more than 150,000 children start smoking each year in the UK. Half of all lifelong smokers will die from their addiction, amounting to over 100,000 people last year in the UK.
Putting tobacco products in standardised packs is a popular measure. Opinion research shows that 62% of the public support the plain, standardised packaging of tobacco products, with more smokers supporting than opposing the measure.
Over 200,000 people have expressed their support for the introduction of plain, standardised packaging of tobacco products in the UK.
Internationally, standardised packaging is already in place in Australia which became the first country to implement such legislation in December 2012.