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Loss of jobs if cigarette packs change a myth

You report (News, February 11) that Ian Paisley Jnr MP believes that up to 1,000 jobs could be at risk if plain, standardised tobacco packs were introduced.

The health minister, Edwin Poots, is right to consult on plain, standardised tobacco packs.

The World Health Organisation, alongside leading charities and researchers, agree that standardised packs make cigarettes less attractive to young people.

They will give millions of children one less reason to start an addiction that will kill one-in-two of its long-term users.

It is also a popular policy, with a recent YouGov poll showing 64% of people in Northern Ireland in favour and only 11% opposed.

The tobacco industry has regularly used the threat of job losses to oppose laws to cut smoking.

Industry experts estimate that manufacturing tobacco cartons accounts for 325 jobs in the UK. But standardised packs would still need to be packaged.

Similarly, the idea that standardised tobacco packs will increase smuggling is a myth – counterfeiters can (and do) easily copy the existing packs.

ROBIN HEWINGS Cancer Research UK, GERRY MCELWEE Cancer Focus NI, Jayne Murray British Heart Foundation

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