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Number of Underage Smokers Continue to Rise in the UK

Update Date: Mar 22, 2013 11:41 AM EDT

Smoking continues to affect the underage as the number of smokers under 16 has dramatically increased in just one year. According to the charity group, Cancer Research UK, the statistics state that there were 50,000 more minors smoking in 2011 than in 2010. The report found that in 2010, there was a recorded 157,000 children from the ages of 11 to 15 that smoked. That number, in 2011, became 207,000. This alarming new number suggests that the government must find alternative ways of educating the young regarding the consequences of smoking, and help control and decrease this growing number.

"With such a large number of youngsters starting to smoke every year, urgent action is needed to tackle the devastation caused by tobacco," the executive director of policy and information at the charity, Sarah Woolnough stated.

The charity reported that one in three children under 16 have tried smoking, where as 567 children per day actually pick up the habit. The charity group wants the government to enforce the use of standardized packs, in which all cigarette packages will be manufactured in the same type of packaging that clearly display the health warnings of smoking.  Australia was the first country in the world to manufacture tobacco products in standardized packaging. Standardized packaging only displays the brand name and the warning labels without anything else to distract and attract consumers.

"Replacing the appeal of cigarettes with plain, standardized packs will give millions of children one less reason to start smoking. These figures underline the importance of sustained action to discourage young people from starting," Woolnough said. "Smoking kills and is responsible for at least 14 different types of cancer. Standardized packaging is popular with the public and will help protect children. We urge the government to show their commitment to health and introduce plain, standardized packs as soon as possible."

Smoking is responsible for several health complications and causes several thousand deaths per year. 

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