NHS specialist hits out over sales ploys of tobacco firms

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A HAWICK health specialist has this week underlined the dangers posed by tobacco companies’ ‘very clever’ marketing techniques.

Catriona Davies, NHS Borders’ stop smoking service manager, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that it will be introducing standardised cigarette packaging across all tobacco brands – while the Westminster government has opted to stall plain packaging until the results of a similar scheme in Australia can be measured.

Mrs Davies said: “There is a lot of evidence to prove that tobacco companies use cigarette packaging as a key marketing tool. “

She maintains that tobacco companies deliberately target young people. “Half of all smokers die of a smoking-related disease, so from a marketing point of view, tobacco companies need to get young people to start smoking, as half the people who buy their cigarettes will die.

“They market certain products, like stylish cigarettes to attract young women using connotations of fashion and slimness, or ‘rebel without a cause’ branding to attract young men. They’re very clever, and use distinctive branding and very well publicised adverts in TV and film.”

Mrs Davies argues that standardising packaging across all tobacco brands will reduce the number of smokers and the people dying of attributed diseases.

She said: “There is evidence to show that by making the packaging plain and putting large pictures of the ill-effects of smoking on packets like the current smaller versions, it will stop people from starting smoking or relapsing.”

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