Cancer Research UK has condemned the government’s decision to delay introducing plain cigarette packaging and says “lives will be lost”.
Cigarettes will continue to have branded packs
The charity believes that by going ahead with the proposed plans to remove all branding from cigarette packets, more children would have been protected from the harmful product.
The British Medical Association have said they are “deeply disappointed” by the decision as they feel brand marketing is a key tool in attracting young smokers.
A letter written to prime minister David Cameron and health secretary Jeremy Hunt by 188 health and welfare organisations, including the Royal College of GPs, said the decision “amounts to a tame surrender to the tobacco industry”.
The letter said: “With over 200,000 children starting to smoke every year, there is no good reason for the UK to wait any longer.”
Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive at Cancer Research UK, added: “They [children] are lured into an addiction that is often life-long but which kills half of all long term users. We can't stand by and watch as these lives are lost.”
Smoking is believed to cause more than a quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK and in 2009 it was estimated that 100,000 deaths were associated with smoking.
Research has shown that cigarette packaging makes them more attractive to children and 40% of regular smokers began before the age of 16.
Jeremy Hunt, health secretary for the government, has claimed the UK is waiting for more evidence before making a decision on this matter.
Hunt said: “Having carefully considered these differing views, the government has decided to wait until the emerging impact of the decision in Australia can be measured before we make a final decision on this policy in England.”
Some health insurance providers, like PruHealth, will financially assist you in giving up smoking if you take out a policy with them.
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