Smoking killed my dad and I don’t want kids to start

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A RUGBY schoolgirl who lost her dad to lung cancer is backing a national campaign aimed at discouraging young people from starting to smoke.

Abigail Hobbs, 13, and her mum Louise are urging people to sign a petition in support of Cancer Research UK’s ‘The Answer is Plain’ campaign, which calls for all branding to be removed from tobacco packaging.

The government recently opened a UK-wide consultation on whether to put all tobacco in packs of uniform size, shape and design, with large health warnings front and back.

After seeing her daughter lose her beloved father to cancer at the age of nine, Louise Hobbs wants to do everything she can to protect children from the allure of glitzy tobacco packaging.

Abigail’s father Graeme started smoking as a teenager and was diagnosed with lung cancer when Abigail was 11.

He died just seven months later on New Year’s Day 2010, aged 51.

Louise said: “Abigail feels very strongly about the effects of smoking since her dad passed away and would like to see smoking banned completely.

“Whilst we know that this is unlikely to ever happen, she hopes that this campaign might at least stop some people dying too young!

“I believe plain packaging would certainly go some way to making smoking less appealing to youngsters because they tend to have “brand envy” about most things.

“The array of different packaging young people are confronted with today is frightening, from limited editions, to patterned cigarettes and packs shaped like perfume bottles.

“I fully support any measure that makes cigarettes less attractive to children. That’s why both Abigail and I are urging everyone to sign Cancer Research UK’s petition and help stub out tobacco marketing to young people.”

Paula Young, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Warwickshire, said: “Our survey shows people across the region clearly support action to get rid of one of the last ways the tobacco industry can market its products. So we’re asking them to sign our petition and help end the ‘packet racket’.

“Many parents know their children are very attached to certain brands and cleverly designed packaging plays a significant role in maintaining that attraction. But when we are talking about tobacco then it’s time to change the law.

“We have a unique opportunity to protect children from the marketing of this deadly product. This is not about ‘the nanny state’.”