We need the plain truth on smoking

editorial image

The MP for Jarrow, Stephen Hepburn, has tried to justify his refusal to vote for cigarette plain packaging on claims that it would increase counterfeiting, and ignored the need to make smoking less appealing.

Research into the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes in Australia shows there has been a reduction in the appeal of smoking among adolescents, and that it prompted smokers to think about quitting.

They also found no evidence of an increase in the consumption of illicit, cheap cigarettes as a result of the legislation.

Mr Hepburn should think about the long-term health effects on his constituents, particularly as 26% of pregnant women in South Tyneside smoke, compared with a national average of 11%.

Plain packaging will not cut jobs in filter manufacture overnight, but will reduce gradually, hopefully as smoking rates reduce.

We need long-term vision for a transition to sustainable jobs of the future.

David Herbert,

South Tyneside Green Party.