Graphic pics to be used on cigarette packs

In collaboration with the Press Association

The Department of Health has launched a public consultation on graphic images of cigarette-damaged organs that will be pictured on cigarette packets.

The public will be able to provide feedback on which of the 14 pictures, including images of diseased lungs, a dying smoker and an unborn foetus, will be used.

Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of cancer and is estimated to be responsible for around a fifth of the 7.6 million global cancer deaths last year

Tests have shown that the pictorial deterrents are far more effective warnings of the dangers of smoking than the written messages currently used.

The chosen pictures will cover 40 per cent of the back of cigarette packets sold from autumn 2007. Health secretary Patricia Hewitt said the change is a natural progression.

"We have already made a lot of progress with the stark written warnings on cigarette packs," she said at the launch of the consultation.

"However, these messages become less effective over time so we now need to refresh our approach by introducing new hard-hitting images."

Jean King, director of tobacco control at Cancer Research UK, said that the charity welcomed the news.

"The evidence from Canada, Brazil and elsewhere is clear - graphic picture warnings inform people of the risks of smoking and help encourage people to reduce their smoking or quit altogether," she said.

"They also help minimise uptake by young people. This measure will help deglamorise cigarette packs and let people know what they really get from smoking."

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