Berkeley Squares Bite: The politics of smoking

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I would like to present the third episode of the Berkeley Squares Bite, in which I speak to Dr Olivia Maynard from the University of Bristol, whose research was instrumental in the government’s decision to adopt standardised tobacco packaging.

I look at the possible effect standardised tobacco packaging will have on the 19% of the UK population that smokes on a regular basis. To me it seems blindingly obvious why people take up smoking – the “cool factor” – but will this change with the new packaging? No more brand images, no more sophisticated writing and no more “low tar”, all to be replaced with large yellow warning signs, uniform branding and a picture of a grotesque foot, dead body or lady coughing up blood. 200,000 children aged between 11 and 15 take up smoking every year, and in a bid to quash this statistic the new regulation will officially take effect in May 2017. With eight out of ten smokers starting before they are nineteen, minimising the role of product branding in their decision to start smoking is key.

Olivia Maynard’s research is a key element in the jigsaw of evidence which was examined by Sir Cyril Chantler, and has helped ensure that the Government made the right decision to go ahead with getting rid of brightly coloured branding on tobacco packs.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

I would love to hear your opinions on this Berkeley Squares Bite, previous ones or suggestions as to who we should speak to next. Contact me by email or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter.

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