Cancer Research UK welcomes BMA tobacco report

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has welcomed the British Medical Association (BMA)?s publication of a series of hard-hitting recommendations aimed at making cigarettes less accessible to young people and protecting children from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

The report, entitled 'Breaking the cycle of children's exposure to tobacco smoke', seeks to boost support for far-reaching proposals which would see a ban on ten-pack cigarettes and tobacco vending machines.

In addition, the BMA calls for shops to be required to have a licence to sell cigarettes and that they should be forced to store tobacco products under the counter.

Jean King, director of tobacco control at Cancer Research UK, said: "Smokefree legislation is a fantastic step towards protecting everyone from the dangers of secondhand smoke. But we still need to do much more if we are ever going to break the cycle of tobacco addiction, disability and death.

"The measures proposed by the BMA are a serious and welcome step towards protecting the next generation and consigning tobacco to the history books.

"The government must make a long-term commitment to tobacco control. We especially need fully independent regulation of tobacco ingredients, packaging and promotion, and well resourced stop-smoking services."

Dr Andrew Thomson, member of the BMA's Board of Science, commented: "More must be done to make cigarettes more inaccessible to children.

"By increasing the purchase age to 18, banning ten-pack cigarettes and making tobacco products more expensive, fewer children will be able to buy them," he explained.

"It is essential we break the tobacco trap, as the younger someone starts to smoke, the less likely they are to give up."

According to the BMA, children whose parents smoke are two to three times more likely to smoke themselves than children from non-smoking homes.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of BMA Science and Ethics, warned: "Young smokers will become tomorrow's parents who smoke and they will continue the cycle of smoking-related ill health and premature death in families."

She also pointed out that one of the best ways to prevent children from smoking was to help their parents to quit.

"Adequately resourced and targeted smoking cessation services are key to this," she said.