Chil­dren en­ticed by smoke pack­ets

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

A cig­a­rette packet can be just as ap­peal­ing to a child as a bag of lol­lies, a video re­leased by the Heart Foun­da­tion re­veals.

In the 60-sec­ond clip New­ton Cen­tral School young­sters, aged be­tween 5 and 10, speak openly about why the colours and im­ages on the pack­ets ap­peal to them.

The Heart Foun­da­tion is work­ing in part­ner­ship with other con­cerned agen­cies, in­clud­ing the Can­cer So­ci­ety, to bring to light the im­pact of cig­a­rette packet brand­ing on young peo­ple.

The foun­da­tion hopes the video will bring the mes­sage home.

One child says the packet re­minds her of lol­lies, while an­other says “it looks like you could just slide it out and eat it”.

New­ton Cen­tral School prin­ci­pal Hoana Pear­son was shocked.

‘‘I hadn’t re­alised chil­dren see them like that,’’ she says.

‘‘It very clearly shows that when you look through chil­dren’s eyes things look very dif­fer­ent.’’

Tobacco pack­ag­ing acts as a smoke­screen for what is po­ten­tially a deadly prod­uct, she says.

‘‘The sim­ple truth is that the pack­ets ap­pear colourful, bright and ap­peal­ing, when they should be seen as just a box that has stuff in it that’s dan­ger­ous.’’

The video sup­ports the foun­da­tion’s cam­paign to stub out branded cig­a­rette pack­ag­ing.

It is also a key step to­wards the goal of New Zealand be­com­ing smoke-free by 2025, they say.

Heart health ad­vo­cate Naadira De­sai says the clip may shock par­ents.

‘‘Al­though it might be hard to watch, we’re con­fi­dent it will gal­vanise community sup­port for plain packs for tobacco.”

Un-brand­ing tobacco prod­ucts won’t stop ev­ery­one from smok­ing, she says.

‘‘But re­mov­ing the last key mar­ket­ing tool that tobacco com­pa­nies have will give our kids and grand­kids one less rea­son to start.”

School mum Hay­ley Wha­tuira, whose sons fea­ture in the clip, would like to see an end branded pack­ag­ing.

“A child’s not go­ing to be at­tracted to plain pack­ets. It will def­i­nitely have an im­pact on fu­ture gen­er­a­tions – it just won’t be on their radar.”

British Amer­i­can Tobacco has launched a na­tion­wide ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign to per­suade the Gov­ern­ment not to in­tro­duce plain cig­a­rette pack­ag­ing.

As part of the cam­paign it’s launched agreedis­agree.co.nz, un­der a ban­ner "we agree that tobacco is harm­ful, we dis­agree that plain pack­ag­ing will work".

Pub­lic feed­back is cur­rently be­ing sought by the Gov­ern­ment on the plain pack­ag­ing is­sue.

Feed­back closes on Oc­to­ber 5.

to

Shock­ing: New­ton Cen­tral School young­sters speak about why cig­a­rette pack­ets ap­peal to them in a Heart Foun­da­tion video clip. From left: Ara­bella Ur­win, 8, Frances Bing­ham, 10, Poppy Lush, 9, and Phoebe Lush, 9.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bournews. co.nz to see the foun­da­tion’s video on plain pack­ag­ing.

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