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Images 'should depict deadly smoke'

Tuesday June 1st 2010

Anti-smoking campaigners are calling for pictures of the damaging health effects of smoking to be prominently placed on cigarette packets.

The groups want 80% of the packets to be covered in the graphic images to make it more difficult for cigarette companies to sell them using seductive packaging and branding techniques.

They used World No Tobacco Day to mount a new offensive at the European Parliament in Brussels and are urging the inclusion of the depictions of diseased organs to accompany prominent written warnings that smoking kills.

The call came after last week's pledge from the EU's new Consumer Health Commissioner John Dalli for new legislation to tighten up existing anti-smoking rules.

"Today's World No Tobacco Day is a good opportunity to remind Europeans what tobacco consumption means for their health and lives," Mr Dalli said.

"It means sickness, suffering and premature death. I believe the time has come to strengthen our efforts to fight tobacco and its health consequences. With this in mind, the commission will soon launch a public consultation on the possible revision of the Tobacco Products Directive".

Earlier the Smoke Free Partnership (SFP) told a conference in the European Parliament that it wants compulsory picture warnings - showing diseased organs - and standardised packaging of cigarettes across the EU, in a bid to try and influence the public's health choices.

"The tobacco industry uses multimillion-dollar promotional campaigns, including carefully crafted package designs, to trap new users, especially young women," said SFP director Florence Berteletti.

"The tobacco pack is a 'silent salesman', carefully designed with a particular customer in mind. For instance, cigarettes for women are often packaged in slim, long packs, often with pastel or toned down colours, to meet perceived desires to appear feminine and sophisticated."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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