Smoke packs suck-in kids

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By SUE FEA

The Heart Foun­da­tion is tar­get­ing par­ents and com­mu­ni­ties with a hard-hit­ting on­line film high­light­ing the harm­ful ef­fects cig­a­rette pack­ag­ing can have on chil­dren. Ar­row­town Pri­mary School Room 18 pupils were among the first to view the 60-sec­ond English ver­sion of the film clip with Heart Foun­da­tion South­land heart health ad­vo­cate Ni­cola Ma­son, of In­ver­cargill, last week. There is also a 90-sec­ond ver­sion in Maori. The film shows chil­dren, aged 5 to 10 years, talk­ing about why they find the colours and im­ages on cig­a­rette packs so ap­peal­ing. Com­ments like ‘‘it re­minds me of lol­lies’’ and ‘‘it looks like you could just slide it out and eat it’’ could be alarm­ing for many par­ents, Mrs Ma­son said. ‘‘The con­tent is very com­pelling – it’s all un­scripted and I’m sure many par­ents will be shocked. ‘‘We’re con­fi­dent it will gal­vanise the community to sup­port plain packs for tobacco,” she says. The short film was in re­sponse to a Gov­ern­ment call for feed­back on its pro­posal to in­tro­duce plain pack­ag­ing for tobacco prod­ucts. The foun­da­tion is work­ing in part­ner­ship with agen­cies such as the Can­cer So­ci­ety to help New Zealan­ders un­der­stand how cig­a­rette pack­ag­ing af­fects chil­dren. Young peo­ple started smok­ing, most from the age of 14, and were the ones se­duced by glossy brands and im­ages, she said. Heart dis­ease was New Zealand’s sin­gle big­gest killer and not smok­ing was the num­ber one preven­tion for pre­ma­ture death. Ad­vo­cates will be on the streets seek­ing sup­port be­fore the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod closes on Oc­to­ber 5.

To view the film: heart­foun­da­tion.org.nz/plain­packs.

To sign the on­line pe­ti­tion:http:/ /plain­packs.org.nz.

Photo: SUE FEA/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Shock­ing: From left: Heart Foun­da­tion South­land heart health ad­vo­cate Ni­cola Ma­son and Ar­row­town School Room 18 pupils Oliver Hill, So­phie Aitken and Romy Hall check out the foun­da­tion’s new short film high­light­ing the harm­ful ef­fects cig­a­rette pack­ag­ing can have on chil­dren.

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