Plain packaging plan ‘to cut smoking rates in South Yorkshire’

Proposed plain packaged cigarettes
Proposed plain packaged cigarettes

Plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes have been welcomed by health bosses in South Yorkshire.

Proposals for standardised packaging were approved in the House of Lords last week, with the legislation aimed at making smoking less appealing to young people.

The law, due to come into effect from May 2016, has been welcomed by the South Yorkshire Tobacco Control Collaborative, who say they hope it will cut smoking rates across the region.

Around one in five adults in South Yorkshire are smokers, with the highest rates in Sheffield.

In Sheffield 23.2 per cent of adults smoke, compared with the national average of 18.3 per cent.

In Doncaster the figure is 21.4 per cent and in Rotherham it is 18.9 per cent.

Dr Tony Baxter, Director of Public Health for Rotherham and Doncaster, said: “This is a huge leap forward for the health of future generations, particularly in areas like South Yorkshire, where a higher than average percentage of the population are smokers.

“Most adult smokers take up the habit from an early age and there is now substantial evidence to suggest that standardised packaging will help reduce the appeal of cigarettes to young people.

“The new legislation will be both effective and popular and is a positive move in preventing young people from starting to smoke.”

The UK now joins Australia and the Republic of Ireland in introducing plain packaging.

It comes as a new pilot study indicated that babies carried by smokers may have delayed development of the central nervous system.

Pregnant women have long been urged to give up cigarettes because they heighten the risk of premature birth, respiratory problems and even cot death. Now researchers believe they can show the effects of smoking on babies in the womb through 4D ultrasound scans - and use the images to encourage mothers who are struggling to give up.