With MPs due to debate the Health Bill in the House of Commons, the BMA is urging them to support measures that will help prevent young people from taking up smoking.
• Banning the display of tobacco at point-of-sale
• Banning all tobacco vending machines
• Supporting the introduction of plain packaging for all tobacco products
Smoking remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the UK. Nearly one in four adults still smoke and many others continue to take up the habit. The vast majority of individuals start smoking before the age of 25.
Dr Vivienne Nathanson, Head of BMA Science and Ethics, said today:
"With most smokers becoming addicted before their mid-20s, it is essential that we try and prevent young people from taking up smoking in the first place. A teenager might think that cigarettes are cool but the reality is that smoking is one of the most dangerous things they're likely to do - it has a 50% chance of killing them.
"Displaying packets of cigarettes in shops, cigarette vending machines and tobacco packaging all contribute to normalising the habit and encourage the onset of smoking. MPs in Westminster have a real opportunity on Monday to help protect children from a life time of addiction and the associated diseases that go hand in hand with smoking. We strongly urge them to support these measures."