LEADING family doctors in Sheffield have called for cigarettes to be sold in plain, label-free packaging to deter youngsters from smoking.
GPs sitting on the new Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group - which will take control of most of the city’s £1 billion NHS budget next April - have told The Star they want all branding on packets banned, with cigarettes sold instead in plain cartons.
The city currently spends £27 million a year treating smoking-related illnesses.
Oughtibridge GP Dr Tim Moorhead, who chairs the new group, said: “Around 900 people die in Sheffield every year from smoking-related illnesses - all of which could be prevented.
“Any initiative that discourages people from smoking would hopefully go some way to help this.
“We would ideally want to prevent people from smoking in the first place and we know quitting can be hard. That is why we are always here to support people to quit.
“Smokers can drop in to the Quit Stop on Charles Street - just two minutes’ walk from the Town Hall - or by making an appointment with your GP for confidential advice and support.”
Lynsey Bowker, Tobacco Control Manager at NHS Sheffield, said: “I think that plain packaging is a really important step in protecting young people from tobacco marketing.
“Now that advertising tobacco is illegal, we have found stylish tobaccos packs have an influence on encouraging new smokers.
“With eight out of 10 smokers starting by the age of 19, plain packs would hopefully take us one step closer to a future where people don’t take up smoking in the first place.”